The massacre of more than 100 people in a Syrian village could be a watershed for President Bashar al-Assad and his negotiating rival Kofi Annan. Diplomats say the signs are not good for the efforts of either man.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Annan is heading imminently on his second visit to Damascus struggling to keep a pulse in his peace plan for Syria. Assad is fighting for personal survival.
The slaughter of at least 108 people in Houla has overshadowed the visit however. The U.N. says that among them were 49 children and 34 women, many gruesomely blown to bits or shot dead at point blank range.
The U.N. Security Council on Sunday strongly condemned the government’s role through its heavy artillery assault on the village. Its statement however did little to bring the international powers together to end the crisis.