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.

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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid