In the wake of increasing bloodshed in Syria and yesterday's massacre, Barack Obama has released a statement against the Syrian government and in support of peaceful protesters. Al Jazeera has posted the full transcript on their site.

Yesterday the Syrian government murdered hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children, in Homs through shelling and other indiscriminate violence, and Syrian forces continue to prevent hundreds of injured civilians from seeking medical help. These brutal killings take place at a time when so many Syrians are also marking a deeply meaningful day for their faith. I strongly condemn the Syrian government's unspeakable assault against the people of Homs and I offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones. Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now. He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately.

Obama's statement comes at a critical time, with the UN Security Council voting today on a draft resolution that would pressure the Syrian government to stop its retaliation against protesters. CNN reports that while the United Nations has estimated over 5,000 deaths since the uprisings began in March, the Syria-based Local Coordination Committees places the number at more than 7,100.

The statement from Obama goes on to challenge the United Nations to act.

The international community must work to protect the Syrian people from this abhorrent brutality. Earlier this week, our Arab partners called on UN Security Council members to take action to support a political solution to the crisis in Syria and stop Assad's "killing machine." The Council now has an opportunity to stand against the Assad regime's relentless brutality and to demonstrate that it is a credible advocate for the universal rights that are written into the UN Charter.

It closes with a promise of support from the United States and its allies — and another strong condemnation of the Syrian government.

We will help because we stand for principles that include universal rights for all people and just political and economic reform. The suffering citizens of Syria must know: we are with you, and the Assad regime must come to an end.

Obama statement or not, Reuters is now reporting that the UN Security Council has not adopted the draft resolution on Syria, with two negative votes from China and Russia.

[Image via AP]