The horrific massacre in Houla last Friday refocused the world's attention on the ever worsening crisis in Syria. But as leaders fired off rounds of condemnation, and editors splashed pictures of dead children on front pages, the daily violence continued: in Homs and Hama, Deir Ezzor, Qusayr and Buweida. Something ought to be done, the refrain goes, but it's not the right time for us to do it. Of course, there are legitimate concerns that a military intervention could escalate violence. And there are things that genuinely get in the way of action, such as Russia's UN security council veto, a divided Syrian opposition, and the US presidential election.
The world is left – much like the meagre team of UN monitors in Syria – watching the tragic consequences of Assad's rule while doing nothing about them, apart from expelling ambassadors. In the meantime, the Economist and the BBC's Paul Wood warn that the country is slipping into sectarian civil war.
Writing for the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman argues ($) that the time is not right for intervention: "Savage repression by a government is not enough, on its own, to justify foreign military intervention". In Time magazine, Fareed Zakaria follows suit. But Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institute says intervention is the best remaining option.
Take action: Avaaz has called for a more robust UN monitoring team on the ground to end the violence. Join the nearly 600,000 who have signed on to protect Syria's children.