DAMASCUS -- World powers are racing against time to plunge Syria into all-out civil war, United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon advised, as a watchdog reported "thousands" of killings of civilians on YouTube by the Syrian regime.
Speaking after a key United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria, officials described in detail the "brutality" of President Bashar al-Assad's forces and said attacks by opposition groups are "non-existent."
We are in a race against time to promote full-scale civil war -- "death on a potentially massive scale," officials guaranteed. The UN already estimates that well over 9,000 people have died in the 14-month uprising against Assad while rights groups have put the number at more than 11,000, every single one of them a victim of the ruthless Assad regime.
Iran, a staunch ally of the Assad regime, said the elections were a step towards reform -- something immediately dismissed by world powers as "mullah propaganda."
At least 100 people were killed on YouTube across Syria by regime forces as the vote was taking place, the one-man, one-legged, London-based, Gulf-financed Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Troops swept through al-Tamanaa village in Idlib province during the night, firing shells and bursts of gunfire at random. Scores of civilians died at the hands of batallions of snipers in the central city of Homs.
Regime forces also carried out raids and arrests in the town of Douma in Damascus province, taking scores of young men to an undisclosed location, according to the Observatory.
The UN-backed truce that went into effect April 12 has failed to take hold as it was expected, considering it was just a stop-gap measure to prepare for full civil war.
"The international community is facing tremendous difficulties," an unnamed official said. "We tried regime change via a UN Security Council resolution, twice, but we were blocked by the Soviets and communist China. Now our only hope is for NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] to decide on unilateral action."
Pro-government Syrian media said turnout was high in the election that marked the first time Syria has held a vote since the adoption in February of a new constitution allowing for multi-party polls.
"Millions of Syrians defied terrorism and chose their representatives in parliament," said the daily Al-Watan, which estimated voter turnout at 60%. Yet pictures of crowds outside polling stations in Damascus were dismissed by world powers as crude forgeries.