UNITED NATIONS - A Russian-Chinese veto against a UN Security Council resolution condemning the ongoing bloodshed in Syria has invited a storm of world condemnation, The New York Times reported Sunday, February 5.
"What more do we need to know to act decisively in the Security Council?" US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a news conference in Munich after the UN meeting.
"To block this resolution is to bear responsibility for the horrors that are occurring on the ground in Syria."Russia and China joined in a double veto of a Western- and Arab-driven resolution at the UN Security Council endorsing the Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar Assad to hand over power to a deputy to make way for a transition towards democracy.
The other 13 council members voted for the resolution that would have said the council "fully supports" the League plan aimed at stopping Syria's bloodshed.
Justifying its position, Moscow said the draft resolution was an improper and biased attempt at "regime change" in Syria, an important buyer of Russian arms exports and host to a Russian naval base.
Russia and China "remain steadfast in their willingness to sell out the Syrian people and shield a craven tyrant," US ambassador Susan Rice told the council.
In a separate message on Twitter, Rice wrote: "Disgusted that Russia and China prevented the UN Security Council from fulfilling its sole purpose."
Britain also said it is "appalled" at the veto, while French President Nicolas Sarkozy "strongly deplores" the veto by Russia and China, his office said.
"France is not giving up," Sarkozy said in a statement, saying Paris was in touch with Arab and European partners to create a "Friends of the Syrian People Group" that would marshal international support to implement the Arab League plan.
Syria has been hit by popular protests in March, inspired by uprising in the Arab world, for an end to Assad's 11-year rule.
More than 6,000 people have been killed in the crackdown on protestors, according to the United Nations. Syrian opposition put the number at more than 7300 deaths over the nearly 11-month-old uprising.
License to Kill
Emboldening Assad's government, the veto was seen as a license to the Syrian regime to commit more killings.
"It's quite clear this is a license to do more of the same and worse," Peter Harling, an expert on Syria at the International Crisis Group, told The New York Times.
"The regime will take it for granted that it can escalate further. We're entering a new phase that will be far more violent still than what we've seen now."
The Assad regime's crackdown on dissent has hit Homs particularly hard and activists say a great number of defecting soldiers have set up a camp there to protect protesters.
News of another Homs massacre shocked the world on Saturday morning after residents confirmed that Syrian forces shelled the Khalidiya neighborhood at around 8 pm on Friday using artillery and mortars.
Residents said at least 36 houses were completely destroyed with families inside.
"We were sitting inside our house when we started hearing the shelling. We felt shells were falling on our heads," Waleed, a resident of Khalidiya, told Reuters.
"The morning has come and we have discovered more bodies, bodies are on the streets," he said.
"Some are still under the rubble. Our movement is better but there is little we can do without ambulances and other things."
An activist in the neighborhood contacted by Reuters said:"We have dug out at least 100 bodies so far, they are placed in the two mosques."
Residents of Homs' battered Baba Amro district denounced the Russian-Chinese veto, reiterating their wiliness to fight for their freedom with some chanting, "Death, rather than disgrace".
"Now we will show Assad, a resident who identified himself as Sufyan told Reuters.
We're coming, Damascus. Starting today we will show Assad what an armed gang is."