News / Middle East

Syrian Opposition Urges UN to Act After 'Massacre'

Anti-government protesters attend the funeral of protesters killed in earlier clashes in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani, Syria, December 21, 2011.
Anti-government protesters attend the funeral of protesters killed in earlier clashes in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani, Syria, December 21, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

The opposition Syrian National Council has urged the United Nations Security Council and the Arab League to take action after reports that government troops "massacred" more than 200 people in two days.

The opposition council on Wednesday called for an emergency U.N. meeting to discuss the recent "massacres" in Zawiyah mountain, Idlib and Homs. The SNC says 250 people have died in a 48-hour period, making it one of the deadliest times since the anti-government uprising began in March.

It urged the U.N. to declare these areas "safe zones" and force Syrian troops to withdraw.

Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin told reporters the council will hold a second round of negotiations Thursday to "build consensus" about Russia's draft resolution on Syria.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday the overwhelming majority of the loss of life in Syria stems from the actions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government

Amateur video from Syria allegedly showing man shot in Homs.

'Disturbing' reports

He said the U.S. is "deeply disturbed" by credible reports that the government is indiscriminantly killing scores of civilians and army defectors.

An activist with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA Tuesday that troops surrounded and attacked civilians, including activists, in the Idlib province village of Kafruwed. In one instance, the London-based group told VOA that security forces beheaded the leader of a local mosque.

Witnesses also told the Observatory that troops besieged a group of army deserters in Idlib, killing or wounding as many as 100. Civilian deaths were reported in other areas as well.

Foreign observers ready


The Observatory's claims could not be independently confirmed because Syria has restricted foreign journalists in the country.

The reported attacks come as foreign observers prepare to enter Syria in an effort to end the nine months of bloody unrest.

Arab League officials say an advance team will arrive in Syria Thursday to prepare for the observer mission, which eventually will involve hundreds of monitors. The team will include security, legal and human rights experts.

Syria agreed to allow the observers into the country under global pressure to stop the bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The White House vowed Wednesday that the international community will take steps to pressure Assad's government if the Arab League peace plan is not implemented.

Assad accused of stalling

Critics have said the Syrian move is a stalling tactic. Ian Lustick, a Middle East analyst with the University of Pennsylvania, said that similar scenarios have played out in other countries in the region, and that he doubts the observer mission will occur as planned.

"We can welcome it, but look at all the times we've seen in Yemen and elsewhere where leaders made agreements and then signed them, or signed them and then backed out to gain a little time to try to see if the next day or two would open new opportunities - if the other side would make some kind of mistake," said Lustick. "So I actually would be very surprised, frankly, if those hundreds of observers were allowed to enter Syria, and even more surprised if they were allowed actually to go outside Aleppo and Damascus to the areas where this violence is occurring."

The United Nations says at least 5,000 people have been killed during the nine-month uprising against the government of Assad. Syrian authorities blame the violence on "armed terrorist groups."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid