News

    Annan Asks for UN Action on Syria

    Former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Anna, Geneva, Switzerland, March 16, 2012.
    Former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Anna, Geneva, Switzerland, March 16, 2012.
    Margaret Besheer

    The U.N. and Arab League's chief peace envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, called on Security Council members Friday to end their stalemate and decide what to do to pressure Syria into ending its deadly crackdown on dissent.

    In a briefing from Geneva, the former U.N. secretary-general said he is sending a team to Damascus next week to discuss a plan to deploy international monitors. Diplomats say Annan discussed his plans in a video briefing to the Council on Friday, less than a week after his own meetings in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    After the briefing, Annan told reporters Syria's political turmoil needs to be handled carefully to avoid any "miscalculations" that could lead to a "major escalation" that could impact the entire region.

    “I think it is a conflict in a region of the world that has seen many, many traumatic events," he said. "I think we need to handle the situation in Syria very, very carefully."

    Asked if the government and opposition would agree to speak with each other, Annan said the activists he met, although angry and frustrated over the government crackdown, are eager to get talks going and resolve the issue politically and peacefully.

    Western diplomats say they hope Annan's mediation will accelerate efforts to pass a U.N. resolution condemning Assad's bloody crackdown on dissent. Russia and China have twice vetoed previous resolutions condemning Syria.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Syria:

    Syrian state media released a statement on Friday ahead of the closed Security Council meeting, saying the Damascus government has pledged its cooperation with Annan in the hope of finding a "political solution" to the crisis. The Foreign Ministry statement again blamed unspecified "terrorists" and foreign interference for much of the deadly violence in Syria.

    Annan met with Assad last Saturday and Sunday. He outlined proposals to end the fighting, provide humanitarian aid and begin political dialogue.

    Note: VOA has revised its figures based on information complied by UNOSAT via death toll figures from Syrianshuhada.com and the Violations Documenting Center. This change reflects a shift in the numbers. Because of the difficulty of monitoring and reporti
    Note: VOA has revised its figures based on information complied by UNOSAT via death toll figures from Syrianshuhada.com and the Violations Documenting Center. This change reflects a shift in the numbers. Because of the difficulty of monitoring and reporti

    Rebel fighters have been in retreat throughout Syria and a movement of opposition activists has been fragmented with dissent. But Western governments have been reluctant to arm the Syrian opposition, for fear of further inflaming the situation.

    Thousands of opposition protesters took to the streets in over a dozen towns and cities across the country Friday to demonstrate against the Syrian government. The rallies took place despite a government military offensive in many areas, and a siege by government forces in others.

    Internet video showed crowds of protesters in several flashpoint districts. Opposition activists waved signs calling for “immediate foreign intervention.”

    The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel soldiers clashed with government forces overnight in towns near Damascus. VOA cannot confirm events shown in the videos since most foreign correspondents are not being allowed into Syria.

    Syrian state media announced that Iran is sending several planeloads of humanitarian aid to the Syrian Red Crescent Society. U.S. officials say Iraq is allowing Iran to fly military supplies to Syria over its airspace.

    Iran sends aid

    Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami, of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California, says few details about Iran's aid to Syria are available. He says Assad has sought assistance from Iran and its ally, the Hezbollah faction in Lebanon.

    "I think he's getting good aid from Iran and from Hezbollah, because Iran and Hezbollah are committed to this fight," Ajami said. "The Iranians are helping him with software, and with knowledge they can shop [send] abroad, which is the knowledge they acquired in the summer of 2009, destroying the[ir] Green Movement.”

    Turkey wants buffer

    With thousands of Syrians fleeing into Turkey to escape the violence, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicates Turkey is considering intervening inside Syria to protect those refugees.

    Erdogan said a buffer or security zone is being looked at, but other ideas are also under consideration. One of his senior ministers said late Thursday that a buffer zone offering protection to civilians fleeing the violence could extend as far as 10 kilometers into Syria.

    During the past few days alone, thousands of Syrians have streamed in to Turkey. New camps to house more than 20,000 people are under construction, but the head of the Turkish Red Crescent estimates that up to 500,000 Syrians could eventually seek sanctuary in Turkey.

    Ankara, once a close ally of Damascus, is now taking a leading role in diplomatic intervention in the Syrian crisis.

     

    Loading...


    ------

    Edward Yeranian in Cairo, Dorian Jones in Istanbul and wire services contributed to this report.

    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 page of 2
        Next 
    by: mervin
    March 19, 2012 6:18 AM
    The problem is the world will never trust UN at all because it does not serve the world very well,its under few countries influence and it only serve them only.

    by: Cha Cha Cohen
    March 18, 2012 4:57 AM
    Thanks to Kofi Annan, for delegating to UN. So far the world has not seen any honest work done by UN. Everybody hope that they deliver an honorable task! The world is watching!

    by: mr roh
    March 17, 2012 3:29 AM
    sorry for Kofi Annan' role

    by: Mecury
    March 16, 2012 11:09 PM
    Please Mr Annan what can International Monitors do at this stage when
    thousands of people have already lost their lives and the deterioration continues, please be realistic in your thinking for the people of Syria.

    by: joe
    March 16, 2012 10:01 PM
    Turkey May Create Buffer Zone in Syria for Refugees ?why not in turhey?

    by: JR
    March 16, 2012 4:07 PM
    Assad pledges his government hopes a solution for that grave situation; but, as it doesn't happen, he's going to continue killing the women, the children and anyone who will cross his way. Great!

    by: Jana
    March 16, 2012 3:08 PM
    If Syria's allies are involving themselves by providing more weapons and promoting more violence, why can't the UN involve themselves and help the desperate Syrians pleading for help! It's gone too far and no one has taken action!

    To All: there's a petition to try and get the UN to do something about this madness - let's generate a lot of emails their way and spread the word
    http://www.change.org/petitions/urge-the-united-nations-to-adopt-immediate-resolutions-condemning-violence-in-syria

    by: Samar
    March 16, 2012 12:13 PM
    SHAME ON UN....SHAME on the International Community ....SHAME on the US....Shame on all the humanity !

    by: hayatte
    March 16, 2012 11:52 AM
    Based on reports from arabic channels no demonstrations took place in Damascus, Aleppo and Derra. Some took place in Homs. Concerning M Annan I'm not suprise by what he said. Indeed, whatever the syrian government will do the so-called international community will refuse to listen what they want is Syria to become the next Lybia with islamists into power. in case you still don't know we take our orders from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. What a shame.

    by: Concerned American
    March 16, 2012 9:33 AM
    Everyone must realize by now that despite their protests, Russian, Iran, and Hezbollah have been actively supporting the Assad regime with technical, material, and diplomatic support. Russia will continue to stall the UN and supply Assad with arms and ammunition, Iran will continue to provide technical expertise on repression, murder, torture, etc., and Hezbollah will support Syria from Lebanon, by assisting Assad's security apparatus in identifying dissidents and possibly even murdering them.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.