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The crisis appears to be spiraling out Assad’s control, however, as attacks by army defectors increase and world leaders look at possibilities for a Syrian regime without him.

Germany, Britain and France are pressing for a U.N. resolution that would strongly condemn Syria’s human rights violations. The three European countries decided to move ahead with the General Assembly resolution after the Arab League confirmed its suspension.

“We hope it will show Assad just how isolated he is,” Germany’s U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig said of the resolution.

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Thursday the world must urgently “hear screams” from Syria and do something to stop the bloodshed.

He said the uprising in Libya got far more worldwide attention because Libya has more oil.

“The lack of reaction to massacres in Syria was causing irreparable wounds in the conscience of humanity,” he said.

The growing calls for Assad’s ouster are a severe blow to a family dynasty that has ruled Syria for four decades — and any change to the leadership could transform some of the most enduring alliances in the Middle East and beyond.

Syria’s tie to Iran is among the most important relationships in the Middle East, providing Tehran with a foothold on Israel’s border and a critical conduit to Tehran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza.

Also Thursday, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees, an activist coalition, said at least nine civilians were killed during raids by security forces in central, eastern and northern Syria, including a 9-year-old girl.

In addition, the LCC said four defected soldiers were killed in Sashl al-Ghab in the suburbs of Hama. In a Facebook posting, the Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for striking at a military checkpoint in the area, saying it killed four members of the security forces and wounded many others. It also said four members of the Free Syrian Army, including a lieutenant colonel, died in the clashes.

Associated Press writers Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow and Alexa Olesen in Beijing contributed to this report.