Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution backing calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, despite international outrage Saturday over a devastating bombardment of the city of Homs by his regime's forces. Activists said more than 200 were killed in the bloodiest episode of the nearly 11-month uprising.
The overnight onslaught on restive neighborhoods in Homs, Syria's third largest city, signaled a willingness by Assad's regime to bring a new level of violence to stamp out an opposition that has grown increasingly bold and armed.
The Obama Administration and the State Department has stepped up the rhetoric against Syrian leader Bashar Assad recently in the wake of a new wave of violence. In a statement, Obama said, "Assad has no right to lead Syria, and has lost all legitimacy with his people and the international community."
Secretary of State Clinton voiced the U.S. concerns with Russia and China's continued support of Syria, saying "I offered to work in a constructive manner... that has not been possible." U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice put it in much more stark terms, saying,
Since these two members last vetoed a resolution on Syria, an estimated 3,000 more civilians have been killed. 3,000. Another almost 250 killed just yesterday. Many thousands more have been held captive and tortured by Asad and his shabiha gangs. Since these two members last vetoed a resolution, however, and despite the absence of Security Council action, we have seen more and more Syrians speak out in peaceful demonstrations against the regime.
Once again, the courageous people of Syria can clearly see who on this Council supports their yearning for liberty and universal rights-and who does not.
The U.S. has already ruled unilateral military action against Assad off the table, worried about the potential consequences.