By Ray Fleming

ANOTHER Friday, and doubtless more protests and more killings after morning prayers in Syria today, as the unrest there moves into its third month. When the demonstrations for political and social reform began it seemed possible that President Assad might respond in a positive way but before long he showed that he could act as brutally as his father had done in the past when faced with danger to his dictatorship. International reaction has been slow to develop for a number of reasons, including the inability of the foreign media to enter Syria, but it is now taking shape.

The highly-respected Human Rights Watch organisation has produced a report which accuses Assad's security services of systematic killings and torture and which estimates the number of deaths to be more than 1200 with many more injured; it has called for an end to the situation in which Syrian forces can kill and abuse their own people with impunity.

There has understandably been international disappointment that the kind of action authorised by the United Nations against Libya has not been repeated in the case of Syria. No two cases are ever the same but there are now indications that a Security Council resolution calling for an investigation of the Syrian situation by the International Criminal Court is being drafted.

It would be a useful first step to further measures.

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