Reuters reported on Friday that Russia has reaffirmed it will not permit U.N. Security Council intervention in Syria, despite the fact the chief U.N. monitor described the peace plan as having collapsed.
The Russian stance contradicts a recent U.S. statement on the crisis, suggesting that Russia and the U.S. were jointly coordinating their strategy for Syria once the regime of Bashar al-Assad falls.
Here's more on the continuing Syrian crisis and headlines related to the developing civil war.
State Department discusses "Yemen-style" transition, post-Assad transition: During a Thursday press briefing, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, asked about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comparison of a Syrian political transition to that of Yemen's, said that "we are continuing to talk about a post-Assad transition strategy" with the Russians.
A recent discussion between Russian and American diplomats in Kabul, Afghanistan centered on Syrian issues, and was a "constructive conversation" despite an ongoing dispute over Russian sales of weapons and helicopters to the Assad regime.
Russians dispute regime change concept: For his part, Clinton's Russian counterpart -- Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov -- denied the possibility of transition planning, as any plan to help Syria decide its fate was contrary to the Russian position on the matter.
"We do not get involved in overthrowing regimes -- neither through approval of unilateral actions by the U.N. Security Council nor by participation in any political plots," Lavrov said in Moscow, as quoted by Reuters.
His ministry countered American claims of helicopter sales to Syria, saying that the deliveries were made many years ago and that all Russia had done was carry out previously arranged repairs on the helicopters.
U.N. observers find "stench of dead bodies": Observers of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) entered the town of al-Haffeh on Thursday and reported that, though the number of casualties were unclear, the town had the "strong stench of dead bodies" and continued to have pockets of fighting, according to the U.N. News Center.
Observer chief describes civil war: Major-General Robert Mood was said by Reuters to consider the Annan peace plan to be in tatters, with neither side willing to lay down their arms. Instead, security forces and rebels were focusing on military gains.
U.N. calls for new mission: Another article from the U.N. News Center reported that senior U.N. officials Francis Deng and Edward Luck called on the organization to reconsider its observer status.
Due to ongoing atrocities committed against civilians, the pair invoked the responsibility of the international organization to protect civilians, saying that it should use "the full range of tools available under the United Nations Charter."
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.