Instead, the commission of the executive board of the UN cultural agency voted 35-8 Thursday to condemn the crackdown on civilians in the Arab state.
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The US and several other countries want to unseat Syria from the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, which has a strong human rights component. But there apparently is no precedent to remove a nation from a UNESCO committee.
Syrian President Bashar Assad's crackdown on an opposition movement has left thousands dead in the past year.
The watered-down resolution condemning the violence in Syria must be approved by the executive board's plenary session on Friday.
The US "is profoundly disappointed that this resolution does not call for outright removal" of Syria from the committee, Ambassador David Killion said. He expressed hope the organization would revisit the issue in the future.
The draft resolution also urged Syrian authorities to end human rights violations, protect the population, restore freedom of expression and respect heritage.
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