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Syria Crisis: UN General Assembly Resolution Approved Backing Arab Plan Calling For Assad To Step Down

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This image from amateur video made available by Shaam News Network, purports to show black smoke rising in the air in Homs, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. | AP

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution backing an Arab League plan that calls for Syria's president to step down and strongly condemns human rights violations by his regime.

The vote in the 193-member world body was 137-12 with 17 abstentions.

Russia and China, who vetoed a similar resolution in the Security Council, voted against the resolution.

There are no vetoes in the General Assembly and while their resolutions are not legally binding, they do reflect world opinion on major issues.

Supporters were hoping for a high "yes" vote to deliver a strong message to President Bashar Assad to immediately end all human rights violations and attacks on civilians and hand power to his vice-president.

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