An armed insurrection inside Syria looks set to gather momentum after the failure to pass a UN resolution against president Bashar al-Assad’s regime, according to dissidents in two key Syrian cities.
Activists from Homs and Hama, where mostly peaceful protests over the past six months have lately become more aggressive and armed, say the failure of the US effort to threaten sanctions against Syria has convinced some that diplomacy cannot protect them.
An activist from Homs said, “For the people of Homs the international community are not with us and we know that for sure. Russia and China will continue to protect Assad and as long as that happens, he will hunt us down.”
Britain, France and the US are expected to seek a fresh resolution on Syria before the UN Security Council after Russia and China on Tuesday night vetoed a draft that threatened sanctions, a security council source said.
The veto provoked the biggest verbal explosion from the US at the UN for years, with its ambassador Susan Rice expressing “outrage” over the Moscow and Beijing move.
In Homs, where government forces are routinely clashing with armed members of the opposition — many of them former soldiers who had defected — outgunned protesters are now openly seeking weapons from outside the country. “We know that we will not see Nato jets above the skies of Damascus,” said one Homs resident. “It is us against them. No one else will help us.”
In Beirut, where aid supplies to Homs and Hama are co-ordinated, aid workers said they had been receiving more requests for weapons than for food or medicine. “Of course we can’t help with this. But it shows how much their priorities have changed.”