Western and Arab powers plan to step up the pressure on Syrian president Bashar Assad with a vote in the UN General Assembly tonight.
Assad’s forces have launched an offensive against rebels over the past two weeks, as these unverified pictures from the central city of Homs appear to show.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have drafted a resolution condemning the violence and now France says it could strike a deal with Russia at the Security Council to end the bloodshed.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said a compromise with Moscow could be found in the short-term “to end the massacres,” whilst ruling out military intervention.
“The argument that we could find ourselves in the same situation as we were with Libya is a bad excuse and I said that to (Russian Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov. Because it is clearly stated in this resolution that there will not be a military option,” Juppé told reporters in Vienna.
Russia opposes a Libya-style solution for Syria.
Russia and China, as permanent members of the Security Council, both vetoed an Arab League-backed text on February 4th.
Both countries said it did not go far enough in calling for armed rebels to lay down their weapons.
Activists in Deraa say the Free Syrian Army has been providing security for protests in some parts of the city.
Syrian authorities have not commented.
Media access to the country is tightly controlled making it impossible to verify claims by both sides.