Some 200,000 people have taken part in anti-government protests in Homs, activists say, amid fresh hope of a United Nations resolution on Syria.
Despite Russia’s sharpened criticism of the country, its traditional ally, demonstrators remain angry at Moscow’s stance in this crisis. One sign held aloft in Homs showed President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin with the words: “You will regret what you are doing.”
At the Security Council, Russia has long refused to pin the main blame for the bloodshed on the regime. But in a surprise draft resolution, Moscow is criticising what it calls a “disproportionate use of force” by authorities.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters: “With regard to the need to stop violence, with regard to the need to uphold human rights, with regard to expediting reforms especially, we believe, it is important to give a strong message to the Arab League that we encourage them to continue their efforts and of working together with the government of Syria.”
Nine months of unrest have left 5,000 people dead, the UN believes, and fears are growing of a civil war. Newly-released video footage claims to show fighters from the so-called ‘Free’ Syrian army exchanging fire with government troops.