The Arab League has abandoned its monitoring mission after failing to make a dent in the ongoing violence between troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and an increasingly armed opposition.
In its latest attempt to defuse the violence that has raged for 10 months, the League called for Assad to step down. As with the League' s previous demand for Assad to negotiate with opposition leaders, the answer was no.
The monitors are still in the country, but they might be leaving soon.
The deaths and injuries keep piling up. None too happy with rebel activists who used their newfound weapons to take control of three suburbs in the capital, Damascus, the army ordered troops into those suburbs in an attempt to regain control. The move was a success, resulting in scores of deaths on both sides.
The opposition has gone from unarmed civilians dying in the streets to well-armed rebels holding territory and towns. The latest round of army defections netted three tanks as well for the opposition. In addition to soldiers, weapons, and equipment, the opposition boasts intelligence forces.
The non-armed forces death toll, according to the United Nations, has exceeded 5,000. The number of security forces killed in the past 10 months, the government says, has exceeded 2,000.
Meanwhile, France and the United Kingdom have announced plans for a new U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the violence and putting forward punishments such as economic and political sanctions. A similar resolution in 2011 was vetoed by China and Russia.