Assad's Western and domestic opponents have put the onus on Russia and China for enabling the Homs assault by their veto of the UN Security Council resolution, a toothless text that would have called for Assad to step down.
However, the significance of the veto was not that it allowed Assad to give free rein to his insatiable blood lust for slaughtering his own citizens, as the West would have it.
The true significance of the veto was the message that Russia and China had endorsed Assad as a viable political actor, primarily within Syria, and his domestic opponents, including those holding out in Baba Amro, should think twice before basing their political strategy on the idea that he would be out of the picture shortly thanks to foreign pressure.
It is difficult to determine exactly what the government's objectives are for Baba Amro. Hopefully, they are not simply wholesale massacre through indiscriminate shelling.
Recent reports indicate that the government, after a prolonged and brutal softening-up, has decided to encircle the district, send in the tanks, and demonstrate to the fragmented opposition that "resistance is futile", at least the armed resistance that seems to depend on the expectation of some combination of foreign support and intervention to stymie Assad and advance its interest.
Whatever the plan is, the Chinese government is probably wishing that the Assad regime would get on with it and remove the humanitarian relief of Homs from the "Friends of Syria" diplomatic agenda.
To Syria's foreign detractors, the message will be that the genie of armed resistance has been stuffed back into the bottle thanks to "Hama Lite"; and the nations that live in Syria's neighborhood might reconsider their implacable opposition to Assad's continued survival.
PS This is really scandalous. It shows the footage prior to Aljazeera reports: they show fake bandages applied on a child and then a person is ordered to carry a camera in his hand to make it look like a mobile footage. It shows a child being fed what to say on Aljazeera.
Ibrahim … protested that she had “been utterly humiliated. They wiped the floor with me because I embarrassed Zuheir Salem, spokesperson for Syria’s Muslim Brothers. As a result, I was prevented from doing any Syrian interviews, and threatened with [a] transfer to the night shift on the pretext that I was making the channel imbalanced.”
Ibrahim also spoke of how Syrian activists invited onto Al Jazeera use terms of sectarian incitement on air, “which Syrians understand very well.”
They also confirmed an allegation Ibrahim had reportedly made in one of her emails: That Ahmad Ibrahim, who is in charge of the channel’s Syria coverage, is the brother of Anas al-Abdeh, a leading member of the opposition Syrian National Council. He allegedly stopped using his family name to avoid drawing attention to the connection.
Thus the report was barely noticed, and Al Jazeera itself completely disregarded it.