News

Envoy to Brief UN Security Council on Syria

Russia's foreign ministry says it is encouraging the Syrian government to "fully cooperate" with Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League envoy attempting to find a settlement to the year-long bloodshed in the country.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday he also expects Western governments to urge the Syrian opposition to cooperate with the mediation efforts of the former U.N. chief.

Annan is set to deliver a video briefing to the U.N. Security Council on Friday in what Western diplomats hope will accelerate efforts to pass a resolution condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's bloody crackdown on dissent. Russia and China have twice vetoed resolutions condemning Syria.

Annan met with Assad last Saturday and Sunday in Syria, where he outlined proposals to end the fighting, provide humanitarian aid, and begin political dialogue. Annan says he is still in contact with Syrian leaders, but says he would like a more detailed response to his proposals.

Turkey urged its citizens Friday to leave Syria due to "serious security risks."  Also, the Turkish government is considering setting up a buffer zone along its border with Syria.

Violence continued to escalate on Thursday, the first anniversary of the anti-government uprising. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 23 bodies were dumped in Idlib, where government forces have launched their most recent offensive against rebels. State media said troops had cleared "armed terrorists" from the northwestern city.

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 out of fear the situation could be further enflamed.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used Thursday's anniversary to report that "well over 8,000 people" have died in the 12 months of protests. Ban's spokesman blamed the violence on the Syrian government's decision "to choose violent repression over peaceful political dialogue."

The U.N. says a Syrian government-led mission will visit several besieged cities in the coming days to assess humanitarian needs. The team, which includes members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, will visit Daraa, Homs, Hama and other cities.

Early Friday, the Gulf Cooperation Council announced its six member states would close their Damascus embassies in protest of the continued violence. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had already withdrawn their ambassadors to Syria last month.

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: ahgo
March 16, 2012 6:45 AM
i do not understand one thing,if there are terrorists as Syrian officials declare
whom they are fighting,why tens of thousands people flee to neighboring
countries as Turkey,Lebanon,Jordan.If the government can not tackle with
terrorists let them to appeal UN or any international peacekeeping forces to come and help or may be those who took refuge in neighboring countries
are terrorists,in this case the countries giving them refuge must be punished as protectors of terror.

by: micheal
March 16, 2012 4:56 AM
VOA excellent article: to choose repression over peace plan allows either side to abandom ship,maybe there should be a reqired rule of three strikes
put in place first

by: NUTRICULA
March 16, 2012 1:49 AM
THANKS FOR GOOD NEWS FOR US ,,IT HELPED US SO MUCH FOR PRACTIC ENGLISH ,,^^

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs