Syria was expelled from the Arab League after it agreed to a peace plan only to step up attacks on protesters. In late 2011 and early 2012, Syria agreed to allow league observers into the country. But their presence did nothing to slow the violence.
Russia - an ally of Syria - and China have already vetoed two council resolutions that condemned Damascus and threatened it with sanctions and French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters on Monday that reaching a Security Council consensus to refer Syria to the ICC would be difficult.
The purported solution appears ill fitted to the reality on the ground, however, and a new Human Rights Watch report details widespread, systematic torture by the Assad regime. Direct intervention is quickly appearing to be the only feasible means for halting gross human rights violations, stabilizing the conflict, and ensuring a sustainable transition.
More than 200,000 Syrians have so far fled the country overland, seeking refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Cyprus is only 64 miles (103 kilometers) west of Syria.
Syria, verging on a full-blown civil war, has endured a particularly bloody week, with up to 125 people reported killed nationwide on Thursday alone. Since March of last year, the uprising in in one of the world’s most unstable regions has killed some 14,000 people.
International tensions also heightened last week after Syria shot down a Turkish warplane, leading to Turkey setting up anti-aircraft guns on its border with its neighbor.
The new U.N. report found that violence had increased dramatically since an April 12 “cease fire” began and that abuses by both sides, including extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture, have become rampant. As well, the fractured rebel militias present more and more of a challenge to Assad’s forces, “who are exhibiting a certain fatigue.”
Government forces were accused of “indiscriminate shelling,” firing on peaceful protesters and inflaming communal tensions. The inquiry reported that some prisoners were forced to proclaim, “There is no God but Bashar” — a humiliation for the mostly Sunni Muslim population that predominates among the rebels.
SIXTEEN months into an uprising that has now left more than 15,000 Syrians dead, the diplomatic and military pace of the conflict has become a lot hotter. On all fronts President Bashar Assad is losing ground. No one knows when a tipping point may occur. But even his dwindling band of friends seems to recognise that he is on the way out.
Syria is becoming more complicated by the day. The number of local groups resisting the regime is increasing. Protests, Free Syrian Army activist and army assaults are going on in scores of cities, towns and hamlets across the country.
Governments around the world expelled Syrian ambassadors and diplomats Tuesday, an unusual, coordinated blow to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime following a gruesome massacre that the United Nations said involved close-range shootings of scores of children and parents in their homes.
The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and the Netherlands took action Tuesday against Syrian diplomats.
Once the centre of the Islamic Empire, Syria covers an area that has seen invasions and occupations over the ages, from Romans and Mongols to Crusaders and Turks.
A country of fertile plains, high mountains and deserts, it is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Christians, Druze, Alawite Shias and Arab Sunnis, the last of who make up a majority of the Muslim population.