U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Syrian regime will have "more blood on its hands" if it doesn't immediately comply with cease-fire demands being issued by a group of 70 Western and Arab states gathered in Tunisia's capital to discuss the Syrian crisis and seek a truce there.
Speaking at the end of the "Friends of Syria" conference, Clinton also harshly criticized Russia and China for siding with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
"It is just despicable, and I ask, whose side are they on?" Clinton said. "They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people, and they need to ask themselves some very hard questions about what that means for them as well as for the rest of us."
Saudi Arabia's delegation reportedly walked out of that meeting over what it said was the gathering's "inactivity."
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that the European Union will freeze the assets of Syria's central bank from February 27 in an effort to stop the crackdown on the opposition.
The international gathering came amid more violence in Syria.
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed on February 24 that government forces killed 18 civilians, including seven members of the same family, in the central Syrian province of Hama.
Grisly scenes of bombardment and casualties emerged this week from the besieged city of Homs, whose residents' plights were highlighted by the death of a high-profile BBC journalist, Marie Colvin, who had returned to Homs to cover what she said was an "immense" human tragedy.
Based on Reuters, AFP, and AP reporting