British foreign secretary calls for political and economic stranglehold on Syria, as bombing continues for a 20th day

William Hague, the foreign secretary, has signalled plans to step up sanctions in a bid to bring down the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, amid a rising toll of civilian victims.

The day after Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were among the 80 killed in an artillery assault on Homs, Hague said he believed president Assad should go, and called for a diplomatic and economic stranglehold to be imposed on the regime.

“Time is against the Assad regime,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. “I wish it were faster”.

The besieged district of Baba Amr in Homs has been under daily attack by the Syrian army for three weeks.

As bombing continues for a 20th day, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is travelling to Syria in an attempt to secure access for aid workers seeking to deliver emergency relief to people trapped in the country’s conflict zones.

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