News

Amid Fresh Syrian Clashes, Annan Demands Ceasefire

Water spurts out of a broken pipe at a damaged building, next to a damaged vehicle, in the old city of Homs March 30, 2012.
Water spurts out of a broken pipe at a damaged building, next to a damaged vehicle, in the old city of Homs March 30, 2012.

U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan says the Syrian government must immediately implement a cease-fire and stop its attacks on opposition groups, as fresh clashes broke out across the country on Friday.

Annan's spokesperson, Ahmad Fawzi, told reporters in Geneva that the "deadline is now" for President Bashar al-Assad to implement the six-point peace plan drawn up by the former U.N. chief. He did not specify what action, if any, would be taken if Assad did not comply.

Kofi Annan's Six-Point Peace Plan

  • A Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.
  • A U.N. supervised end to armed violence by all parties in Syria.
  • Timely humanitarian assistance in all areas affected by fighting.
  • Increasing the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained people.
  • Ensuring freedom of movement for journalists.
  • Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully.

Arab leaders at a Baghdad summit on Thursday endorsed the Syria peace plan and called for its immediate implementation.

Assad agreed to the peace plan on Tuesday, but government forces have not shown restraint.

Chatham House Middle East analyst Nadim Shehadi says Assad may have agreed to the peace plan as a stalling tactic.

"It's something that the regime can use to buy time and the regime can always blame the violence on others and the non-implementation on others and can always buy time by slowly implementing or seeming to implement but not really implementing," said Shehadi.

Rights groups say at least 11 people were killed on Friday in clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The groups say the violence erupted as anti-government protests took place in several cities.

Reported deaths in violence across Syria

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and other officials in Riyadh on Friday in a bid to increase pressure on Assad to stop his year-long crackdown on dissent.

On Saturday, Clinton will attend a meeting of regional Gulf diplomats. Clinton will travel to Turkey on Sunday for the second session of the so-called "Friends of Syria" meeting, which will be attended by dozens of nations who support Syrian rebel groups.

The meeting is expected to focus on how to ensure President Assad complies with the peace plan, which calls for a cease-fire, a daily two-hour humanitarian truce, and political dialogue to end the conflict.

Analyst Shehadi says this week's flurry of diplomatic activity may not indicate progress towards a resolution.

"Sometimes one sees a lot of diplomatic activity when people do not know what to do when there is a crisis and there is no clear policy," said Shehadi.

The U.S. tightened economic pressure Friday on Damascus by imposing sanctions on Defense Minister Dawood Rajiha and two other security officials.

The United Nations says violence linked to Syria's crackdown on the revolt has killed more than 9,000 people.

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.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lam
March 30, 2012 5:23 PM
i do not know they do what. more than 9000 people has killed, it is terrible. i see the leader should do what to help them, i hope the situation will be better ih the future. thank you

by: David
March 30, 2012 9:52 AM
Words will not stop thi Hitler! The US demands, and Assad just chuckles, ACT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by: Fortone
March 30, 2012 9:25 AM
All I can do is chuckle, because there was no way in hell that Assad would play ball with Annan. I sort of feel bad for Kofi Annan somewhat.

by: ROBERT
March 30, 2012 9:20 AM
Anan`s peace plan a big joke or what again plz,or do we see Pres Assad as a wimp who can implement his own regime change to satisfy his foes in the west and their arab stooges? As for Annan they ignored u when they attacked Irag for a regime change and now whos fooling who here unless u forget quickly?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs