Syria’s president defied mounting international pressure to end the year-old crackdown on an uprising against him and said Tuesday he is determined to go on fighting what he called “foreign-backed terrorism.” After an American
senator called for airstrikes on Syria, President Obama said unilateral U.S. military action against President Bashar Assad’s regime would be a mistake.

Mr. Obama said the situation in Syria is more complicated than it was in Libya, where months of NATO airstrikes helped rebels topple Moammar Gadhafi. The United States also said it is proposing a new U.N. Security Council resolution
demanding an end to violence in Syria, first by government forces and then by opposition fighters.

But Russia and China, powerful allies that have blocked a Security Council resolution against Syria, made clear they were still standing by the regime in Damascus. “The Syrian people, who have in the past managed to crush foreign
plots … have again proven their ability to defend the nation and to build a new Syria through their determination to pursue reforms while confronting foreign-backed terrorism,” Mr. Assad said, according to state news agency SANA.

The military crackdown turned to southern Daraa province, where the uprising began a year ago. Troops shelled a village in Daraa and clashed with military defectors. Activists said the military blasted a bridge and a tunnel near
the border with Lebanon used as escape routes for the wounded and refugees fleeing central Homs province, an opposition stronghold that just endured a heavy, month long offensive.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, described video that has emerged of torture victims allegedly shot secretly in the Military Hospital in Homs as “truly shocking.”

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