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By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Mousab Alhamadee
The international envoy to Syria said after talks with the country's leader Monday that the situation was "worrying" and gave no indication of progress toward a negotiated solution for the civil war.
U.N. observers came under fire Thursday as they tried to reach the site of the latest reported mass killing in Syria — about 80 people, including women and children who were shot or stabbed. The deaths added urgency to diplomatic efforts to end the escalating bloodshed.
Syrian forces killed at least five people and torched a number of homes in a raid on a farming village Sunday that activists said showed worsening relations between Syria's myriad religious groups.
Syrians voted in parliamentary elections Monday that the government praised as a milestone in promised political reforms, but the opposition boycotted the polls and said they were designed to strengthen President Bashar Assad's grip on power.
The Observatory and Mr. Alhamadee said the rebels shot down a Syrian government MiG warplane that was attacking rebel positions in and around Maan.
In Hama province, where rebels launched an offensive against army checkpoints and posts last week, opposition gunmen entered Maan and raised the opposition flag over the main police station, Hama activist Mousab Alhamadee said via Skype.