The shelling of Syrian city Homs continued earlier this week as the international community called for increased pressure on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Based on reports compiled by The Guardian, at least 50 people have been killed every day during the past week. Though many of those reported dead have fallen in the uprising against Assad, a number of civilians have also been killed.
According to an estimate made by the United Nations, the total death toll in Syria may be greater than 7,500.
Despite these statistics, the Syrian regime is pressing ahead with an attempt at reform. In a referendum vote last weekend, Assad attempted to restore his tarnished image with the international community by making some concessions regarding totalitarian control of the country.
The most notable portions of the referendum allow for opposition parties to challenge the Ba’ath party, which is currently the only political faction allowed in Syria. Also, a term limit of 14 years would be applied to the office of president. However, this limit would not be applied retroactively, allowing Assad to run again in 2014, and subsequently in the next election.
Though the referendum passed, these gestures did not change the global community’s views. Figures such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused the referendum of being a distraction, taking focus off of the violent crackdown occurring within the country.
Though a course of action is still being debated, Russia and China do not support anything further than dialogue with the Assad regime. This drew criticism from Western countries such as France, who yesterday implored the two countries to consider the U.N. Security Council Resolution put forth to end the violence within the country.
As the conflict escalates, reporting from within the country is becoming increasingly difficult.
Yesterday morning, British photographer Paul Conroy was evacuated into neighboring Lebanon after being wounded in an attack on Homs late last week. Thirteen Syrian opposition members were killed in the process.
Renowned British correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlick were killed in the same blast that wounded Conroy.
Several other journalists, including French news correspondent Edith Bouvier, are still missing within the country.
With refugees from Syria pouring into neighboring countries, nations such as Lebanon are feeling the pressure from potential civil war. Anti and pro-Assad forces within the country have been at odds for some time, and the situation in Syria is only becoming increasingly tense.
Parts of Lebanon, notably the city of Tripoli, still harbor a great resentment toward the Syrian regime, after its occupation of parts of the country from 1976 until 2005.
As the world watches the conflict, international action of some sort is expected this week.