Today, the United Nations raised its count of people killed in Syria unrest to at least 2,900. This announcement comes days after a failed attempt by the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution to address the ongoing violence.
Double Veto by Russia and China Prevents Security Council Action on Syria
On Tuesday night, the Security Council considered a draft Syria resolution that failed as a result of a double veto by Russia and China. Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa abstained, while all other countries voted in favor of the resolution. The United States expressed “outrage” over the move by Russia and China to block action on Syria. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations condemned opponents of the resolution who she said “would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime” and led a walk out of the Security Council meeting in protest.
The United States, France and Britain are expected to bring a new resolution on Syria to the UNSC for consideration in the near future. It is likely that the draft will include an arms embargo and targeted sanctions. As Ambassador Rice stated earlier this week, “Let me be clear: the United States believes it is past time that this council assumed its responsibilities and imposed tough targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on the Assad regime.”
Senate Approves Nomination of U.S. Ambassador to Syria
On Monday evening the United States Senate approved the nomination of Robert Ford to serve as the Ambassador to Syria. Ambassador Ford had been serving in the position as a result of a recess appointment. Without approval from the Senate, the Ambassador’s term would have expired at the end of the year. Ford’s actions to bring attention to the atrocities taking place have received acclaim. The Ambassador frequently issues statements via Facebook.
Support is also building for the Senate’s Syria Sanctions Act. Introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), along with Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), this bill targets the petroleum sector as a means of pressuring the Syrian government and limiting the regime’s access to critical monetary resources. Learn more about the legislation and take action.