The United Nations Security Council is to vote on a resolution regarding Syria on Saturday, with all eyes on Russia, Syria’s strongest ally on the council.
Russia initially rejected parts of the latest draft, but it remains unclear which way they will vote on Saturday, as hope remains that the resolution could still be passed.
Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told reporters that the council was “very close… two words away" from an accord.
Whilst the latest text does not explicitly mention sanctions, parts of the resolution are still opposed by Russia, including warnings of “further measures” and that the council “fully supports” the Arab League plan.
A Western official commented that if an agreement was to be reached at the UN,
"It would scare the Assad regime a lot more than a more robust text vetoed by Russians."
"It would mean the Russians are slowly accepting the idea that Assad will depart and would also send a powerful message to people around Assad that it might be time to leave the sinking ship."
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, reportedly spoke on the phone with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in an attempt to smooth over any opposition leading upto the vote.
Meanwhile, more than 200 people were reported to be killed in the city of Homs as President Assad’s troops shelled the city. The UN has ceased to estimate the number of deaths since the end of January, citing that it was now too difficult to confirm any casualties.
The leader of the Tamil National Alliance, Rajavarothayam Sampanthan, expressed confidence that the Special Presidential Commission, headed by former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga,
Recently promoted Sri Lankan Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said he was ready to face “any inquiry” over allegations of mass atrocities which took place during the final months of the island's armed conflict,
Tamil activists who take part in protests highlight the disappearances of those who surrendered to the army, are under surveillance by the Terrorism Investigation Department and complain of harassment by the security forces.