DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin (L) and Syria's Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja'fari speak before a United Nations Security Council vote on Syria July 19, 2012 at the United Nations in New York. Russia and China on Thursday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would impose sanctions against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad if he does not end the use of heavy weapons. It was the third time in nine months that Russia and China have used their powers as permanent members of the 15-nation council to block resolutions on Syria. There were 11 votes in favor, Russia and China's votes against and two abstentions.
After Syrian rebels bombed a high level security meeting in the capital Damascus Wednesday, rumors were swirling that the Syrian leader Bashar al Assad was injured or missing.
But early Thursday, Syrian state TV showed Assad alongside his newly appointed defense minister, replacing the minister killed Wednesday in the bombing.
In New York, the UN Security Council failed in its effort to impose new sanctions after Russia and China vetoed the resolution. The British ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant condemned the move, saying, "Russia and China are failing in their responsibilities as permanent members of the security council to help end the crisis in Syria."
Today's UN vote left in limbo the question of UN monitors, whose mandate expires Friday.
Middle East watchers in Washington, London, Beirut and elsewhere are trying to puzzle through what the endgame might be. After Assad, what next?
NPR's Deborah Amos joins the show to discuss the future of Syria.
Deborah Amos, NPR correspondent in Middle East