Syria’s military intensified its crackdown in Homs and other cities on the eve of a peace visit to Damascus by Russia’s foreign minister.
Opposition members say 50 people died in the continued bombardment while Syrian security forces say they killed “tens of terrorists”.
Today’s visit by Sergei Lavrov follows Russia’s and China’s blocking of a UN resolution backing an Arab League call for President Bashar-al Assad to give up power.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said: “The fact that Russia and China chose to align themselves with a dictator who is on his last legs rather than the people of Syria, rather that the people of the Middle East, rather than the principled views of the rest of the international community, was indeed disgusting and shameful and I think that over time it is a decision they will come to regret when there is a democratic Syria that won’t forget this action.”
The international community is now scrambling to find another route to put pressure on Assad, but the worsening violence has caused the US to shut its embassy while Britain has recalled its ambassador for consultations.