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After Russia’s Veto at U.N., Foreign Minister Gets Hero’s Welcome in Syria

February 7, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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GWEN IFILL: Now to Syria’s uneasy, uncertain and unfinished revolution.

Ray Suarez has that.

RAY SUAREZ: In the capital, Damascus, a high-ranking Russian visitor, in other cities, more death and destruction.

We start with a report from Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News in Beirut.

JONATHAN MILLER: Artillery and rockets started pounding parts of Homs at dawn again, the fourth straight day, this even as the president promised to cooperate with any effort to promote stability in Syria.

The Russian foreign minister feted like a hero in Damascus by a regime fast running out of friends, Syrian state TV awash with love for Russia, which vetoed the U.N. resolution. Sergei Lavrov reportedly told Bashar al-Assad that every leader should be aware of his share of responsibility, adding that he hoped the Arab people could live in peace and understanding.

But while the president again promised political reforms and assured the Russian mediator that he wanted an end to the violence, his military clearly remaining under orders to stop the uprising, and across Syria, the onslaught continued.

In the restive southern city of Daraa, where the revolt began last March, a street demonstration was met with gunfire. This footage is unverified, but this video among several to emerge of violence in Daraa today. This was filmed in a school. There’s clear distress, one woman shouting, “We’re going to kill them, we’re going to kill them.” Then you see soldiers and bound men face down on the ground.

In Homs, where whole neighborhoods remain besieged and under intense bombardment, not much let up. Terrified civilians say they feel abandoned by the world. Here, women and children take shelter in a basement.

In a northern Idlib province, many reports of military operations, many civilian deaths reported, too. In a northern village attacked by government forces yesterday, Free Syrian Army fighters now patrol. The Syrian theater of conflict is expanding, numbers of dead and injured rising by the day. The Russians have brought no diplomatic breakthrough. The revolt has entered a new phase.