Conflict & Justice

Syria death toll rises as UN Security Council addresses violence



Demonstrators hold the former Syrian flag during a protest against the Syrian regime and its deadly crackdown on dissent in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on January 27, 2012. Western and Arab nations could make public their draft resolution condemning Syria's deadly crackdown on protesters when the UN Security Council convenes to discuss the escalating crisis.



More than 100 people were killed across Syria today by regime security forces, adding this week's death toll to nearly 400.

Fierce clashes between rebel forces and President Bashar Assad's troops rattled Damascus and throughout the country as the UN National Security council meets Tuesday to discuss a draft resolution to call on Assad to transfer power.

US State Secretary Hillary Clinton will join France and Britain in backing the resolution despite Russia’s opposition to such a deal, USA Today reported

Foreign ministers from the UK, US and France are travelling to New York to draft the Arab League resolution that 10 of the 15-member Security Council supports, which has enough backing for a vote. However, Russia has said it would veto the resolution as a permanent council member.

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"This document isn't balanced and it opens the door to intervention in Syrian affairs," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said, according to the Interfax news service.

Despite Russia’s resistance, the country announced Monday it had convinced Syria’s government to start informal talks in Moscow with representatives from the opposition to negotiate a peace deal, The New York Times reported

“In an attempt to contribute with the Syrians to a peaceful settlement without foreign intervention and with respect to the sovereignty of Syria, we have appealed to the Syrian government and to all opposition groups to send their representatives to Moscow at a mutually acceptable time for informal contacts without prior conditions,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

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However, the opposition has reportedly rejected Russia’s offer to mediate, demanding Assad’s regime needs to step down from power before any talks can be established, according to the BBC.

Syria has come to increasingly grow dependent on Russia as an international ally, the Times reported:

“With international support eroding quickly, President Bashar is becoming dependent on Russia for both political and military backing. Moscow has continued to be a key supplier of arms to Syria, recently signing a deal for a new shipment of fighter jets, despite objections from the United States and others.

Over the last year, Russia has tried on several occasions to play a more visible diplomatic role in the Arab Spring uprisings, on several occasions dispatching diplomats to Libya in an ultimately futile effort to broker a deal between Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and rebel fighters.

In Libya, Russia’s leaders chose not to veto the United Nations resolution allowing for the NATO incursion there. It was a decision they now believe was a mistake, one they have vowed not to repeat in Syria.”