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News Wrap: U.N. Security Council Still in Stalemate Over Syria

March 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The carnage in Syria grew ever more brutal today, with reports that government troops carried out a massacre after recapturing parts of the city of Homs.

We have a report narrated by Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News.

JONATHAN MILLER: In the northern city of Idlib, they run. But they can’t hide from Bashar al-Assad’s iron fist.

At the other end of the country, in Daraa, they’re running too, this time from snipers’ bullets. The bodies are piling up. It’s hard to see what Kofi Annan, the U.N. and Arab League envoy, felt he could be optimistic about after meeting Bashar al-Assad.

In advance of today’s Security Council meeting in New York, each side accusing the other of massacring civilians. State TV accused what they called armed terrorist gangs of seeking to grab the spotlight and put the blame on the government.

We’ve had to blur the pictures.

MAN: . . . asserted that the footage aired by some satellite TV channels showed the crimes of terrorist gangs that kidnapped and killed some people in Homs. A source added that those gangs killed their victims, mutilated their bodies and filmed them for some mass media in order to instigate international attitudes against Syria.

JONATHAN MILLER: Many of the dead were women and children. Both sides agreed on that.

Opposition activists described this as slaughter and begged again for international intervention. Whole districts of Homs are now rubble-strewn post-apocalyptic ruins. Survivors are leaving.

“God curse him,” this tearful old man says. “He’s a terrorist. Bashar is the terrorist.”

HARI SREENIVASAN: At the U.N., there was no sign of a break in the Security Council stalemate over what to do about Syria.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed five Palestinians today, and Islamic Jihad militants kept rockets flying into southern Israel. The fighting happened over the weekend, after Israel’s killing of a top militant leader on Friday. In all, 23 Gazans have been killed so far, and two Israelis have been seriously wounded. It is the worst cross-border violence in more a year.

Supporters of requiring photo identification for voters suffered setbacks in two more states today. The U.S. Justice Department rejected a new Texas law. The department cited data showing that Hispanic voters in Texas are twice as likely as others to lack a driver’s license or state-issued I.D. And a county judge in Wisconsin permanently blocked a similar law there. The Justice Department had earlier rejected a photo I.D. law in South Carolina.

Wall Street searched for a way forward today, but major indexes ended up going in opposite directions. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 37 points to close at 12,959. The Nasdaq fell four points to close at 2,983.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.