Western countries presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on Wednesday (August 24th) that urges a full arms embargo against Syria, AFP reported.
Sponsored by Portugal, Britain, France, Germany and Spain, the resolution also includes President Bashar Assad and his brother Maher, 22 other Syrians and four Syrian companies whose assets would be frozen. Defence Minister Dawud Rajiha and Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa are also named on the list.
Diplomats at the UN said they hoped the resolution would be voted upon soon. Russia expressed reservations about the sanctions, saying it is not the right time for an embargo. China urged dialogue between the various Syrian factions, saying "the future of Syria should be decided by Syria itself".
On Tuesday, Syrian dissidents met in Istanbul to set up a national council that will co-ordinate efforts to replace Assad. "A sense of unity has been formed," activist Ahmed Ramadan said during a press conference in Istanbul Tuesday.
"The council will convene in about two weeks to elect the chair and secretary," said Louay Safi, a political scientist. The body brings together both domestic and international Syrian opposition figures.
The Syrian government said it is launching a security and military offensive against "armed terrorist groups" who are working with unnamed external parties to destabilise Syria.