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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs