The U.N. Security Council may vote later Tuesday on a draft resolution condemning Syria's brutal crackdown on anti-government activists.
The European-drafted proposal threatens "targeted measures" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government if it does not stop its deadly assault on pro-democracy demonstrators who have been calling for his departure. The U.N. says at least 2,700 people have been killed in the crackdown.
But Russian opposition could keep the measure from advancing. The Interfax news agency Tuesday quotes Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying the draft resolution is "unacceptable."
Gatilov says the measure does not have Moscow's support, because it does not include a clause urging outside powers against involvement in Syria's internal affairs.
Meanwhile, Syrian activists say at least four people were killed on Tuesday in northwestern Syria in clashes between security forces and military defectors who support the opposition.
The clashes follow days of military operations in the central town of Rastan, where activists say government forces arrested as many as 3,000 people as part of a crackdown on dissent. Syria's official SANA news agency puts the number of arrests "in the dozens."
Syria has been using military force to crush almost seven months of opposition protests demanding an end to Assad's 11-year autocratic rule.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.