News

UN Envoy Warns Against Arming Syrian Rebels

Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria, attends a news conference with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al Araby at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, March 8, 2012
Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria, attends a news conference with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al Araby at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, March 8, 2012

The U.N.-Arab League special envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan, says arming Syrian rebel soldiers "will make this situation worse." Meanwhile, a deputy Syrian oil minister resigned after 33 years of government service, saying he didn't want to end his career "abetting the crimes of the regime.”

Former U.N. Secretary-General Annan began a fresh diplomatic push Thursday to seek a solution to the year-old conflict in Syria with a stop in Cairo. Annan, who is due to visit Syria Saturday, said his mission is to put an end to the violence.

"My only agenda in taking on this assignment is the welfare of the Syrian people. They are brave, ancient people and they deserve better. The killing has to stop and we need to find a way of reforming... in putting in the appropriate reforms and moving forward," he said.

Annan warns the international community against arming Syrian rebels, pointing to last year's experience of arming the Libyan opposition.

"I hope that no one is thinking very seriously of using force in this situation. I believe any further militarization will make this situation worse. We have to be careful that we don't introduce a medicine that's worse than the disease, and we don't have to go very far in the region to find an example of what I'm talking about," said Annan.

The Arab League is due to meet Saturday in Cairo to discuss what action can be taken on Syria. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby does not see a military solution to the conflict.

He said the Arab League is trying to find a solution with the Syrian government.

Speaking on a visit to Syria, U.N. humanitarian coordinator Valerie Amos said she was “devastated” by what she saw in the district of Baba Amr in Homs, overrun by government forces last week after a nearly month-long bombardment. Syrian state television reports showed Amos meeting with the country's education and health ministers, who said infrastructure had been “destroyed by armed gangs.”

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

An opposition video showed the Hekmeh hospital in the Homs' district of Insha'at with an operating room badly damaged, allegedly by government shelling.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, said he doubts much will come out of the international diplomacy. He said Damascus has decided to pursue a military course against an anti-government uprising.

He said the Syrian regime is trying to copy what Russia did in the Chechen capital of Grozny in the 1990s by destroying Baba Amr, but the rest of Homs appears to be holding out. He said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pursing a military and a political solution to the conflict. But the political solution, he said, is mostly a mirage.

Abou Diab questions whether Syria's allies Russia and China will accept a solution that would preserve the Syrian government, but without Assad in power.

In an apparent blow to Assad's cause, Syria's deputy oil minister resigned his post to join the opposition, saying the government has inflicted a "year of sorrow and sadness" on the Syrian people.

In a video posted on YouTube, deputy Syrian oil minister Abdo Husameddine urged his colleagues to abandon what he called a "sinking ship."

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.
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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs