Communities inhabited by Shiite Muslims and President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite minority will be “wiped off the map” if the strategic city of Al-Qusair in central Syria falls to government troops, rebel forces said.
The Obama administration, reticent for the past week about backing a no-fly zone over Libya, is ready to vote today for United Nations authorization to destroy forces of Muammar Qaddafi that attack civilians or population centers.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, whose government was last year described as close to collapse by groups ranging from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the armed opposition, may remain in power for years to come.
The Syrian governmment’s capture of al-Qusair is a “strategic turning point” marking the beginning of the end for the armed opposition, Syria’s premier said, as the army promised mercy for surrendering rebels.
Syrian troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad attacked rebel positions in and around Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, as the government seeks to extend its military advance northward.