U.N. Tries Humanitarian Angle on Syria, Ground Offensive Underway in Homs

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The United Nations is working on a new Security Council resolution designed to win support from China and Russia by focusing on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Earlier this month, the nations vetoed a resolution condemning President Bashar al-Assad and calling on him to step down. However, American and French diplomats are working on the draft of a new resolution that calls for a cease fire and demands access to the country for aid workers, a proposal that China's foreign minister appeared to be more open to. Ignoring regime change in favor of focusing on the human crisis inside the country will make it much hard for Syria's allies to justify their opposition to interference. There's no word yet on when or if the resoultion will come to a vote before the full Security Council.

Meanwhile, activists still Syria fear the worst is about to come. Government troops have reportedly begun a major ground offensive on the city of Homs, after weeks of shelling from tanks and rockets. Protesters holed up in the Baba Amr neighborhood are now under threat of being wiped out as security forces move in on their last stronghold within the city, and indications are grim, as supplies and options are running out, and regime forces say they hope to "clean" the area within hours.

There are still several wounded journalist trapped with the activists, as well, and there is every indication that they won't be spared, should security forces descend on their last outpost. British photographer Paul Conroy was smuggled out of the country this week, but activists say that 13 Syrians were killed in the operation to help him escape to Lebanon. The United Nations believes that more than 7,500 people have been killed since the uprising began 11 months ago.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.