Massacres of one sort or another have become part and parcel of Syria's bloody two years. The country's uprising began with a moderately small-scale protest in the city of Daraa on 15 March 2011. Within the space of two days, as the Daraa protests intensified, the security forces had shot dead 15 peaceful protesters, the first in what we now know would become a huge number of similarly horrible incidents.
Those who say that Russia "is saving" Bashar al-Assad are wrong. I would like to reiterate that it is the Syrian people themselves who choose the political system and leadership of their country. We are not trying to whitewash the multiple mistakes and miscalculations made by Damascus, including the use of force against peaceful demonstrations at the beginning of the crisis.