Syrian opposition seeks support
Syria's opposition has appealed for international backing, a day after Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution aimed at pressuring President Bashar Assad to end his bloody crackdown on an uprising that has raged for almost 11 months.
The double-veto at the Security Council outraged the US and its European allies as well as Arab leaders, and intensified fears among regime opponents that Assad will now unleash even greater violence to crush protesters, feeling that he has protection by his top ally Moscow.
A Syrian state-run newspaper vowed on Sunday that Damascus will continue its crackdown on the uprising until stability is restored.
Early on Saturday, regime forces bombarded the restive central city of Homs in what activists said was the deadliest incident of the uprising.
They reported more than 200 killed, but the regime denied any bombardment and there was no way to independently confirm the toll.
In new reports of violence, the UK-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said troops and army defectors clashed in the north-western province of Idlib and the southern province of Daraa and said nine soldiers were killed in Idlib.
The Observatory also said that one person was shot dead by a sniper in the central city of Homs, a hotbed of anti-regime activism. Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committee, said nine people were killed today in different parts of the country.
The Russian and Chinese vetoes at the Security Council effectively killed an Arab League plan aimed at ending the violence in Syria that called for Assad to hand over his powers to his vice president and allow creation of a unity government. The resolution would have expressed support for that Arab League plan, putting pressure on Assad, who has rejected it.
Hundreds of regime supporters held a rally in a Damascus square, waving Russian and Chinese flags in gratitude for their blocking the resolution. "Thanks Russia, thanks China for undermining the Western conspiracy against our country," said Nibal Hmeid, a 24-year-old teacher at the rally. She said Assad should now settle the situation in Syria "decisively and militarily against those armed criminals".
The regime has painted the uprising as the work of terrorists and armed gangs as part of a foreign conspiracy.