Resolution resistance: West rejects Russia’s Syria draft

Western diplomats pushing for tough action against Damascus have criticized Russia’s new draft UN resolution for being too conciliatory. But while experts argue over drafts and texts, innocent Syrians are living in constant fear for their lives.

­After weeks of criticism over the slow pace of talks, Russia has submitted a new draft UN resolution designed to bring peace to Syria, which calls on all sides to halt the violence.

However the draft has come in for harsh criticism from council members, who say it does not condemn President Assad’s crackdown on protesters strongly enough. They say it also does not make clear whether Moscow would accept tough sanctions which the West believes will solve the conflict and save innocent civilians.

The new text enlarges on an existing Russian resolution, which has been supplemented with a list of amendments proposed by the European nations and the United States.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it does not support any foreign military deployment in Syria, as this would not bring any positive results. Moscow says that the conflict should be solved by Syrians themselves without any outside force. Russia, which holds both Syrian authorities and the opposition responsible, is calling for both sides to negotiate and find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Council members are to discuss Russia’s text on Tuesday.

RT’s Sara Firth, who has been following the situation in Syria closely, is in the conflict-torn city of Homs, where the situation has become even more dangerous.   

The tragic death of French journalist Gille Jaquier in Homs served as yet another reminder of the harrowingly precarious situation facing the residents of this city.

“We are waiting for the zero hour in which they are going to kill us. We are waiting for that,” one local woman told RT’s team.

“I moved my two kids from their school in the hot area where I was living to a more peaceful area so my kids could study safely. “This is not a normal life.  It’s our land, it’s our home, Syria. We don’t want to leave our homes, we don’t want to leave our schools. We just want to live peacefully,” one man said.

People say that they are scared to leave their homes. Water shortages, food shortages and power cuts are extremely common. It is winter now and some people cannot heat their homes. Here in the city of Homs, survival has gone right back to basics.

The city that has been at the heart of the unrest is much like the rest of the country right now – divided.

It is even impossible to travel from one area to another because some streets are simply too dangerous.

The armed conflict in Syria is now looking increasingly like a civil war. Towns and cities like Homs, whose populations have resisted the government crackdown, resemble a war zone. Thousands of people have fled the city.  

Civilian safety is hugely under threat, with outbreaks of violence rendering the country chaotic and fractured.

Caught between the conflicting sides, it is ordinary people who are suffering.

“We are not completely with the government 100 per cent, and we are not against it,” one local woman told RT.  “What they are doing, the gun people – they are killing us, they are killing our future, our people, our children.”  

This is the devastating reality of Syria’s uprising, with neither the government nor the opposition seemingly willing to lay down their arms and pursue dialogue.

As a result, these people are left in limbo, hoping and praying that they and their children will not be caught in the crossfire.

While Western countries push for strong condemnation of the government’s bloody crackdown, Russia remains firmly opposed to any harsh UN action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

As the new draft resolution was being distributed, Germany again raised its voice in the 15-member Security Council over the lack of UN action on the worsening crisis.

Russia’s previous draft, presented to the UN on December 23, was also criticized for being “insufficient.”

Britain, France, Germany and the United States said the text was not acceptable because it put opposition violence on a par with the government assault which the UN says has left more than 5,400 dead.

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