Syrian opposition groups are calling on the Obama administration to force stronger measures against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime despite pressure from Russian and Chinese leaders not to get involved in the country's civil war.
Saturday's international talks in Geneva, attended by world leaders including Secretary of State Hillary Rodam Clinton, was a disappointing failure, said Sawsan Jabri, senior spokeswoman for the Syrian Expatriates Organization, a nonprofit activist group based in West Broomfield, Mich.
"We expect more from the U.S. administration, more than what's already been done, and a more firm statement," said Jabri, whose group represents Syrian expatriates all over the world. "In May 2011, President Obama asked Bashar al-Assad to step down. But since then there have been no measures to force him to step down. We need more international pressure on the regime, and the U.S. should lead the way."
Syrian rebels lack weapons and support in their fight against Assad's military machine, Jabri said. She noted that despite the increased number of civilian rebel fighters, there is little tangible support from Western nations to protect civilians from the ongoing slaughter at the hands of Assad's military. According to the United Nations, at least 10,000 people have been killed since opposition groups began their uprising against the Assad government in March 2011. Some independent groups have said the death toll could actually be double that number.
Syrian citizens have remained in contact with Jabri's organization, describing the gruesome scenes that took place last week in Douma, a suburb just 9 miles outside the capital of Damascus. Jabri, who lost two family members there over the weekend, said her organization has been working closely briefing members of Congress on the conflict, with the hope of getting more support for the Syrian freedom fighters.
On Friday more than 190 people were killed, 60 in Douma alone, and another 200 were wounded across the country, making it one of the deadliest days since Syria's uprising began last year.
Both Moscow and Beijing have twice blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria. Diplomats have failed to come to an agreement which would force Assad from playing any role in a future Syrian government. The diplomatic stalemate has worked to the advantage of Assad's security forces.
"The armed opposition is becoming more effective," said a U.S. official. "It seems to be using better coordinated tactics to frustrate regime forces. The regime still has the advantage militarily, but they are facing stiff opposition."
Iran, Hezbollah and Russia will be the winners if the Assad regime is allowed to survive, Jabri said.
"The Syrian forces have more weapons and capacity and particularly since they are supported by Iran, Russia and Hezbollah," she said. "But what is so surprising is that on the other side there is still hesitation from the West to support the uprising and the rebels."
Women, children and the elderly are not spared in the bloodshed but "slaughtered like animals" in the streets and in their homes, Jabri said.
Sara A. Carter is The Washington Examiner's national security correspondent. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.