News / Middle East

Activists: Syrian Government Agrees to Truce With Rebel-Held Town

Anti-Syrian regime protesters chant slogans and flash the victory sign as they march during a demonstration at the mountain resort town near the Lebanese border, Zabadani, Syria, January 17, 2012.
Anti-Syrian regime protesters chant slogans and flash the victory sign as they march during a demonstration at the mountain resort town near the Lebanese border, Zabadani, Syria, January 17, 2012.

Syrian opposition activists say government forces have agreed to a cease-fire with rebels holding a mountainous town near Damascus and the Lebanese border.

Activists in Zabadani say rebels of the Free Syrian Army and representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to the truce late Tuesday after five days of fighting. The deal calls for pro-Assad forces to withdraw from the town and for rebels to leave the streets. There was no confirmation of the cease-fire from the Syrian government.

Zabadani has been a frequent site of opposition protests since the start of a 10-month-old uprising against Assad's 11-year autocratic rule. Army defectors who have joined the uprising in recent months have engaged in frequent battles with pro-government troops but have not managed to hold territory for a prolonged period.

Qatar's ruling emir recently became the first Arab leader to call for Arab troops to be deployed in Syria to stop Assad's deadly crackdown on the revolt. Syria has rejected the idea. In a report Wednesday, Syrian state-run newspaper Tishrin accused Qatar of providing money and weapons to armed groups in Syria and demanded a stop to such behavior.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday any plans to send foreign troops to Syria will not be approved in the U.N. Security Council, where Moscow holds a veto. Russia is a key military ally of Syria.

Lavrov also said his government continues to sell products to Syria without violating any international laws. He said unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria by the United States and European Union "undermine" collective efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.

EU foreign ministers are due to meet on Monday in Brussels to discuss a new round of asset freezes and travel bans on Syrian individuals and companies. British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that London will lead the way in tightening EU sanctions against the Syrian president, whom he called a "wretched tyrant."

Cameron also said there is "growing evidence" that Iran and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah are providing material support to the Assad government.

A ship carrying Russian-made munitions docked in Syria last week. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said Tuesday that Washington has grave concerns about the flow of weapons into Syria and believes an international arms embargo on Damascus is "overdue."

Russian has submitted a revised draft resolution to the Security Council assigning equal blame for the crisis to the Syrian government and the opposition. Western powers want the Council to condemn and sanction only the Syrian government, a position Russia and China have opposed.

The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people. Syria says "terrorists" have killed about 2,000 members of the security forces since the unrest began.

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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More