U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has taken Russia and China to task for their continuing support of President Bashar al-Assad as the Friends of Syria summit commences in Paris.

Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly thwarted efforts by the United Nations Security Council to condemn Assad and his brutality against the opposition, while warning against any foreign military intervention in the blood-soaked Middle Eastern state.

However, Russia and China are not attending the Paris summit, which comprises more than 100 nations seeking an end to the violence that has killed at least 15,000 people in Syria and has dragged on for a year and a half.

We should go back and ask for a resolution in the Security Council that imposes real and immediate consequences for noncompliance, including sanctions under Chapter 7 [allowing for the possibility of military force], Clinton said.

I ask you to reach out to Russia and China and to not only urge but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. I don't think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all, nothing at all, for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime.