It was Chuck's lead story today on the Harvest Show – let's bring you the latest on what is happening in Syria from on the ground here in the Middle East.
Thousands of pro-Assad supporters waived Russian flags and greeted Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Russian foreign intelligence chief who are making a one-day visit to Syria today.
After Russia's bad press for vetoing a UN Security Council statement meant to condemn Syria's leader Bashar Assad for the 11 months of continued aggression against civilians, Russia needs to gain credibility and save face.
Russia wanted to postpone the UN vote until after Mr. Lavrov made this visit, saying that diplomacy needed to run it's course, thus they, along with China vetoed the resolution.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the visit is part of Moscow's efforts to “seek the swiftest stabilization of the situation in Syria on the basis of the swiftest implementation of democratic reforms whose time has come.”
In Damascus, Mr. Lavrov told Assad that he (Assad) is aware of his responsibility as a leader, and that Moscow wants the Arab peoples to live in peace.
Russia has said that the Syrian rebels also bare responsibility for the violence.
Mr. Assad assured him Syria is committed to stopping violence by all sides.
This meeting comes as Homs, the center of the opposition to Assad, continues to be subjected to heavy shelling. Over the weekend at least 330 – mostly civilians – lost their lives and yesterday more than 100 were killed.
Western powers, upset with China and Russia, have begun to take action against the Syrian Government. America has closed it's diplomatic operation, Italy and France have both recalled their Syrian ambassadors for consultations.
Other European Union states are considering sanctions on the Syria central bank and other trade entities.
Mr. Lavrov will bring to bear the international pressure upon Mr. Assad to gain control over the situation and then to provide suitable change in the countries governing system.
If Assad doesn't respond and come through for Russia and make some change, it may be that he will not have the active support of Russia on the international stage and thus fare for himself while the country's crisis will surely deepen.
Middle East Correspondent