Speaking today, Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt, said:
“I have been watching closely the situation in Syria, and am deeply concerned by the use of force against demonstrators. I condemn the violence that has resulted in a large number of deaths in Deraa. All Syrians have a right to express their views peacefully.
“I call on the Syrian government to respect the people’s right to peaceful protest and to address their legitimate grievances. I call for restraint on all sides but in particular from the Syrian security forces. Violence is never the right answer to these situations.
“I note the statement from the President’s Advisor, Butheina Shabaan, that the Syrian government is looking at political reforms. I call on the Syrian government to implement these proposals without delay and to engage peacefully on the legitimate demands of the Syrian people, who will be looking for action to back up such statements.”