EU ends arms embargo against Syrian rebels

Story highlights

NEW: EU council calls for end to arms embargo on group of Syrian rebels

NEW: Sen. John McCain meets with rebel leaders in northern Syria

U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay addresses a conference in Geneva

Video shows Syrian children bleeding in a filthy makeshift clinic

CNN  — 

On the same day peace delegates met at the United Nations in Switzerland on Monday to talk again about how they want calm to come to Syria, European Union nations agreed Monday to end an arms embargo against Syrian rebels, Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

“It was a difficult decision for some countries, but it was necessary and right to reinforce international efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria,” he said in a written statement.

The violence continued in the war-torn nation as bloody children were rushed into a dirty makeshift clinic in the Syrian city of Qusayr.

Qusayr, near the border with Lebanon, is a strategic area where food, medicine and other supplies are hustled along routes used by government fighters and those trying to oust the government.

CNN talked via Skype on Monday with a citizen journalist who described a desperate and horrid situation. The main hospital in Qusayr has been obliterated by fighting, the source said, not wishing to be named out of concern for security. The wounded are being crammed into homes. And, as one YouTube video shows, they apparently being treated at a makeshift clinic.

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video. It’s hard to watch. A boy wearing a purple shirt comes in screaming, his head bloody. The camera closes in on a baby. The child wails as people holding a steel instrument trying to dislodge something from the child’s ear. The walls are smeared with blood.

Catherine Ashton, EU High representative, announced the end of the embargo, reading a declaration from the organization’s Foreign Affairs Council.

Part of it states: “With regard to the possible export of arms to Syria, the Council took note of the commitment by Member States to proceed in their national policies as follows: The sale, supply, transfer or export of military equipment or of equipment which might be used for internal repression will be for the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces and intended for the protection of civilians.”

In Geneva, the United Nations’ human rights commissioner spoke as she has several times before during the two-year war in Syria.

Navi Pillay, in opening remarks at the first session of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s three-week conference, said the situation has deteriorated to an “intolerable affront to the human conscience,” and the International Criminal Court must mete out justice to those who’ve violated the rights of Syrians.

“I feel utter dismay,” she said.

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