News / Middle East

Arab League Mulls Syria Action

The Syrian flag and a sign in Arabic that reads,
The Syrian flag and a sign in Arabic that reads, "the Syrian Arabic Republic," is seen in front of the empty chair of the Syrian representative during the Arab League Syria Group and foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, Egypt Sunday, February 12, 2012.
Elizabeth Arrott

Arab League members are considering the alliance's next steps toward Syria, including the possibility of a forming a joint peacekeeping force with the United Nations.

Arab League ministers met throughout the day Sunday, regrouping after a league plan was vetoed by Russia and China at the U.N. Security Council. A draft resolution being circulated proposes a joint peacekeeping force to help end the violence that has rocked Syria for nearly a year.

The proposal would significantly increase the level of intervention in the conflict, but it was not clear how far the idea would progress. Syria's allies in the Security Council have consistently rejected more modest proposals.

The Arab ministers were also considering whether to suggest the United Nations appoint a special envoy to Damascus, and that a variety of international sanctions be strengthened.

Tunisia announced that it will host the first meeting of the Friends of Syria, a group of Arab and European nations plus the United States, formed to bypass Security Council opposition.

League members also discussed greater recognition of the opposition Syrian National Council as an alternative government to that of President Bashar al-Assad. The drive is being led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, who met earlier in the day in Cairo.

Outside league headquarters in Cairo, demonstrators continued their demands the alliance take strong action.

As for recognition of the Syrian National Council, demonstrator Ahmed Ouf is hopeful that would be the start of a process that proved successful elsewhere in the region.

"We must start to make like Libya. The Libyan people take support from Qatar, from the U.N. We need the soldiers to leave Bashar al-Assad soldiers and make the el-Jish el-Hor [Free Army]. They must take support from government to the people."

But the people are far from united, with some opponents in Syria suspicious of the foreign-based Syrian National Council, and an increasingly militarized wing split between the rebel Free Syrian Army and local militias.

Further complicating support for what began as a peaceful opposition movement, al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri made a public appeal on behalf of the uprising.

In a video posted on an extremist website Sunday, Zawahri called for liberation from and retaliation against the government of President Assad. He also called for militants in neighboring countries to join in the fight.

Western intelligence analysts say al-Qaida members are already likely involved, and suspect them of carrying out recent bombings in Aleppo.

Nearly a year after the uprising began, and thousands of civilians and security personnel killed, the violence continued Sunday with government forces pounding residential areas of the flashpoint city of Homs.

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.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

Border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared their stories More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
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.

VOA Blogs