The United Nations Security Council, including Russia and China, has thrown its weight behind Kofi Annan’s efforts to end the conflict in Syria.
A statement backed by all 15 members threatens the Assad regime with unspecified ‘further steps’ if it fails to comply with the UN-Arab League envoy’s peace plan. Annan’s proposals aim to bring about a ceasefire and full access for aid agencies.
The text’s approval was a rare moment of global unity, Moscow and Beijing having previously vetoed resolutions that condemned Syria’s yearlong assault on rebels.
No ultimatums were made, at Russia’s request, and the statement falls short of a formal resolution. Nevertheless Russia and China’s involvment is a blow to President Assad whose forces have made big gains, turning their firepower on rebel-held areas.
The fighting shows no sign of abating and analysts now expect the insurgents to change their tactics and adopt guerrilla warfare.