The outcome in Houla is so horrific that it may turn the stomachs of the remaining Syrians who are on the fence, and produce a new backlash against the regime. The revolution in Syria is a contest of wills between the regime on the one hand, and on the other the revolutionaries (who have a civil and a military wing that seldom agree). The revolutionaries have remained steadfast in the face of massive brutality, for over a year. Their will seems strong. The regime seems to be popular in fewer and fewer places. The will of all but its devoted cadres is being shaken. – Juan Cole [Saturday, May 27]

RUSSIA CONDEMNED the war crimes committed in Syria reported this weekend, so maybe the horror is beginning to sink in.

A weekend massacre of more than 100 people emerged as a potential turning point in the Syrian crisis Monday, galvanizing even staunch ally Russia to take an unusually hard line against President Bashar Assad’s government.

Analysts said Russia may be warning Assad that he needs to change course or lose Moscow’s support, which has been a key layer of protection for the Syrian government during the uprising that began in March 2011.

[…] Moscow’s pro-Syria stance has been motivated in part by its strategic and defense ties to Damascus, including weapons sales. Russia also rejects what it sees as a world order dominated by the U.S.

Bashar Assad is already isolated, with the tone from Russia easily understood as a message that the Syrian government has gone too far this time.

“There is a shift and the momentum against the regime is gathering,” Khashan said. “The momentum is building and the Russians are not blocking the rising momentum.” [AP]

Russia, as well as China, remain the two countries blocking U.N. resolutions against Syria’s Bashar Assad.

The AP is reporting that Britain’s PM Cameron and newly elected French Pres. Francois Holland agreed to work together to “bring an end to the bloody suppression of the Syrian people.”