The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including Russia and China, stands united in its approach to put an end to the violent uprising in Syria by issuing an ultimatum to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In a statement signed by all the 15 members of the Security Council, the UN warned Assad of further steps if it did not comply with international efforts led by Kofi Annan for restoring normalcy in the region, Reuters reported Wednesday.
However, Russia -- which had earlier vetoed two Security Council resolutions blaming Assad's government for the violence -- demanded to edit out any specific ultimatums. Despite the threat being watered down, the UN statement is seen as a severe diplomatic blow to Assad who has been steadily losing international support, including that of Russia and China.
To President Assad and his regime we say, along with the rest of the international community: take this path, commit to it, or face increasing pressure and isolation, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Washington.
Meanwhile, Syria's internal conflict is beginning to have a direct impact on the neighboring country Lebanon, as the Syrian forces hit the Lebanese border village of al-Qaa and nearby fields, wounding one person, Reuters reported.
Al-Qaa, situated 10 km from the Syrian border, has been the first stop for a large section of Syrian refugees who have fled into Lebanon. Residents of the village said this was the first time that Syrian forces used artillery across the border.
At least 32 civilians were killed when Syrian troops bombed rebel towns and villages on Wednesday, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
According to the UN estimate, more than 8,000 people have been killed and about 230,000 were forced to flee the country ever since the violent revolution erupted in March last year.
International pressure on Syria continued to build as the European Union governments decided to impose sanctions on Assad's British-born wife Asma al-Assad who is in the news for her extravagant splurges on luxurious goods at a time when thousands were being killed by the army.
The US has warned Lebanon against supporting Assad's government saying that Lebanon will be seriously affected if the Syrian internal crisis turns into a civil war.
In a strongly worded statement, a senior US official on Monday reminded Lebanon of its moral as well as political obligation to topple the Assad government, AFP reported.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East affairs Jeffrey Feltman told a Lebanese American reception that Lebanon should reject the apologists of Assad's butchery.
No one outside of Syria understands the brutality of Bashar al-Assad better than the Lebanese. No one outside of Syria has more of a stake in the outcome than the Lebanese, Feltman said.