Moscow's Kremlin
Moscow's KremlinIsrael news photo: ITAR-TASS/Russian Federation

Moscow has reached its limit and says it can “do no more” to help Syria's President Bashar al-Assad remain in power.

Senior Russian lawmaker Mikhail Margelov said Moscow's veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Assad's savage crackdown on dissidents, together with China, with the “last instrument” possible to keep Assad in office.

"This veto has exhausted our arsenal of such resources,” Margelov was quoted as saying Monday by Russia's Itar-Tass news agency. However, Russia signed an arms deal with Damascus the same day, agreeing to supply 36 fighter jets to the Assad regime.

Apparently also rapidly reaching its limit, the Arab League on Sunday called on the Syrian president to step down and form a unity government in the face of ongoing protests by thousands of demonstrators. The Cairo-based entity recommended that Assad transfer power to a deputy until elections could be scheduled.

But a Syrian official told the state-run SANA news agency in response, “Syria rejects the decisions of the Arab League ministerial council... and considers them a violation of its national sovereignty and a flagrant interference in its internal affairs.”

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out Monday in the Damascus suburb of Duma alone, protected by the opposition Free Syrian Army, to express their grief after 11 more civilians were murdered by government troops, activists said.

Nevertheless, with the exception of a one-month extension of the Arab League observer mission, no direct intervention has been approved by any Arab nation, nor has the United Nations made any decision as to what it will do, if anything, to stop the slaughter of Syrian civilians by the Assad regime.

Between five and six thousand Syrians have been killed by government forces in the past ten months, and thousands more have been injured in detention, and many tortured, after being arbitrarily arrested, including many women and children. Some have “disappeared.”

The Assad regime claims that approximately 2,000 security troops have also died in clashes with “terrorists” and “armed gangs” as a result of the anti-government uprising ignited by last year's “Arab Spring.”