Relentless violence and relentless diplomacy continue as Syria sinks further into chaos.
A large plume of smoke seen rising into the sky above Homs is from a major oil pipeline hit as government forces bombard the city, activists say. The regime blames ‘terrorists’ for the destruction.
President Assad’s soldiers are also shelling Hama, the opposition claims. It says elite troops have stormed a central area of Damascus, searching for rebels.
Russia joined China this month in vetoing a draft UN Security Council resolution supporting an Arab League peace initiaitive. As the General Assembly prepares for a vote on Syria which will not be legally binding, France is not giving up hope of Security Council action.
“We are renegotiating a resolution at the Security Council to see if we can make the Russians give way,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said on national radio. “Tomorrow, we will have a vote at the General Assembly, a very symbolic vote but if we have more than 130 or 140 countries in the world saying ‘Stop the massacre, that is enough. The Arab League plan must now be implemented,’ I think that symbol will be strong.”
France wants the Security Council to discuss creating humanitarian corridors to alleviate civilian suffering.
The latest UN initiatives come as President Assad ordered a referendum on a new consititution for Syria, which, according to a draft, would establish a pluralistic party system.