Violence in Syria spreading to heart of Damascus

Russia and China continue to back Assad

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
Posted on: 
21 Feb 2012
Violence in Syria spreading to heart of Damascus

The carnage gripping Syria took another turn for the worse on Tuesday as forces loyal to the regime of president Bashar Assad used live ammunition on protesters in the capital of Damascus in the latest sign of the deteriorating situation in the heartland of the country. Until this week, the violence had mostly occurred in outlying areas, leaving the rich merchants and other pillars of regime support largely unscathed. But violence in Damascus in recent days has led many analysts to question how much longer the regime can cling to power in the face of rising discontent among his remaining supporters. Meanwhile, clashes between regime loyalists and an increasingly powerful opposition continued in several areas, claiming dozens of new casualties on both sides.

Meanwhile, a “Friends of Syria” group comprised of Western and Arab countries trying to reign in Assad is reportedly preparing an explicit show of support for opposition groups. Representatives of the group gathered in Tunisia over the last days to decide on a plan, even as Assad continues to enjoy support from Iran, Russia and China, although there were indications on Tuesday that at least some of that support might be wavering.

"There are indications coming from China and to some extent from Russia that there may be a change in position," Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby told a news conference in Cairo.

"It seems to me that it would be possible now to take concrete steps aimed at resolving humanitarian issues, relying on the fact that very recently, a few days ago, Damascus allowed the International Red Cross to deliver humanitarian aid to certain regions that ended up in the conflict zone," Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told state-run Rossiya-24 television in an interview. "It can be expected that in the coming days, Russia will put forward certain proposals on that account in the Security Council."

China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, published an editorial on Monday saying; “If Western countries continue to fully support Syria’s opposition, then in the end a large-scale civil war will erupt and there will be no way to thus avoid the possibility of foreign armed intervention.”

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, asked about the Iranian move at briefing in Jerusalem, said Assad was receiving generous support from Iran and its terrorist proxy, the Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah, and that Russia and China had given him “a license to kill.”


Share this: