While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be relieved following the result of a UN security council vote, there has been outrage across Europe and in the US.
Russia and China vetoed a European-drafted resolution against Syria.
This amid a violent crackdown which began six months ago against pro-democracy protesters.
The UN says at least 2,700 protesters have been killed so far.
Western governments are angry about the veto, saying that a security council resolution is long overdue.
The German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, said: “From our point of view, it is a truly sad day for international law and for human rights that the United Nations Security Council was unable to approve a resolution to condemn the repressions in Syria.”
The government crackdown has resulted in thousands of refugees attempting to flee across the border to Turkey.
Among them is a Syrian army Colonel who has defected to the pro-democracy movement.