Another massacre confirmed in Syria
This time, UN monitors discovered 13 bodies, bound and shot in eastern Syria.
Syrian rebels on Wednesday gave President Bashar al-Assad a 48-hour deadline to comply with an international peace plan otherwise they would renew their battle to overthrow him.
Major-General Robert Mood, the Norwegian head of the observer mission, said the 13 corpses found on Wednesday in Assukar, about 50 km (30 miles) east of Deir al-Zor, had their hands tied behind their backs. Some had been shot in the head from close range.
Outrage at last Friday's massacre in the town of Houla, led a host of Western countries to expel senior Syrian diplomats on Tuesday and to press Russia and China to allow tougher action by the U.N. Security Council.
Both sides in the conflict have violated a tenuous ceasefire over the past two months but Assad's forces have been by far the worst offender, according to U.N. monitors.
If it fails to do so "we are free from any commitment and we will defend and protect the civilians, their villages and their cities," Saadeddine said in a statement posted on social media.
The ultimatum was issued after U.N. observers reported the discovery of 13 bodies bound and shot in eastern Syria, adding to the world outcry over the massacre last week of 108 men, women and children.
The latest developments emphasized how the peace plan drafted by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has failed to stem 14 months of bloodshed or bring the Syrian government and opposition to the negotiating table.
Colonel Qassim Saadeddine of the rebel Free Syrian Army said its leadership had set a deadline of 0900 GMT Friday for Assad to implement the peace plan, which includes a ceasefire, deployment of observers, and free access for humanitarian aid and journalists.
Russia will continue running interference for President Assad at the UN, but it might not matter soon. VOA reports that the Obama administration is considering bypassing the UN for collective actions with our western allies and other "Friends of Syria.":
Speaking after news of the executions had broken, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations described the most likely scenario if international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan completely collapses and total civil war ensues. Susan Rice said a coalition of nations may be forced to take action "outside of the Annan plan and the authority of [the Security] Council," a clear hint of military intervention.
Thus far, Washington and its allies have rejected the use of force and said they would not arm anti-government fighters.
Military intervention in Syria would be extremely bloody and we may be facing Russian troops if we do. Syria is the linchpin of Russia's middle east strategy and losing Assad and Syria would be a telling blow to Russian ambitions in that part of the world.
There are no good answers. There aren't even any good questions -- only blood and violence and the suffering of innocents.