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Massive bombing rocks Damascus: why it didn't break UN logjam on Syria

The crisis in Syria, capped by the massive bombing in Damascus, has yet to bridge the gap between world powers. While the US called for 'transition,' Russia said the UN has no place in supporting a 'revolution.'

By Staff writer / July 18, 2012

This image made from video released by the Syrian official news agency SANA purports to show Syrian troops fighting against the Syrian rebels, in the Al-Midan area, in Damascus, Syria, on July 18.

SANA/AP

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United Nations, N.Y.

The massive suicide bombing in central Damascus Wednesday that killed prominent members of President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle underscored how a country already torn by months of violence is sinking deeper into instability. But an alarming deterioration in just the last week appears to have done little to move world powers closer to common ground on Syria.

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In the wake of Wednesday’s bombing, the United Nations Security Council postponed until Thursday a vote on a resolution aimed at ending Syria’s violence and initiating a political transition. But comments from proponents and opponents of forceful UN action on Syria suggested little movement toward a compromise.

“The incident today makes clear that Assad is losing control, that violence is increasing rather than decreasing, and that all of our partners internationally need to come together and support a transition," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. He said the situation prompted President Obama to call Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently with the same message Mr. Carney gave the press: that Syria’s violence will not end until Assad steps down and paves the way to a political transition.

"We are seeing a situation that is getting worse and worse," Carney added – words that resembled Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's assessment earlier Wednesday that Syria is "spinning out of control."

The bombing killed the core of Assad’s “crisis unit” including the Syrian defense minister, Assad’s powerful brother-in-law, and a prominent general and former defense minister. Fighting raged in Damascus as the regime unleashed helicopter gunships to go after what it said were the “criminal gangs” who had launched the attack.

Western powers, including the United States, favor a Security Council resolution that would authorize imposing sanctions on the Assad government if it did not quickly take concrete steps to curtail civilian casualties.

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