Hopes of United Nations action over the continuing bloodshed in Syria have risen after Russia, one of Damascus’s staunchest allies, put forward a stronger draft resolution to the Security Council.
It is the third text from Moscow, but the first that criticises a “disproportionate use of force” by authorities.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, said: “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.”
Western envoys say the text still is not strong enough but could help break the deadlock in the Security Council where China and Russia have blocked resolutions.
As the protests in Syria enter their tenth month, some analysts fear the country is slipping towards civil war.
Opponents of President Bashar al Assad’s regime are increasingly being joined by army deserters. The latter are said to have killed 27 soldiers on Thursday, as opposition groups announced the formation of a National Alliance to overthrow the regime.