News / Middle East

Arab League Calls for UN Peacekeepers in Syria

Arab League Calls for UN Peacekeepers in Syria
Arab League Calls for UN Peacekeepers in Syria

The Arab League has agreed to boost support for the Syrian opposition and urge the U.N. Security Council to form a joint Arab-U.N. peacekeeping force to try to end the Syrian government's increasingly deadly crackdown on an 11-month uprising.

Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo adopted a resolution Sunday calling on member states to provide the Syrian opposition with "open channels of communication" and "full political and material support." The 22-member league also agreed to press for a Security Council resolution authorizing an Arab-U.N. peacekeeping force to implement a cease-fire in the Syrian government's conflict with rebels and protesters.

Damascus quickly rejected the resolution. Syrian ambassador to the league Ahmed Youssef said it reflects the "hysteria" of Arab governments who "failed" to achieve a Security Council resolution authorizing "foreign intervention" in Syria. Russia and China vetoed a Western and Arab-backed resolution earlier this month. It would have endorsed an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal urged his Arab League counterparts to take "decisive" action after what he called the failure of previous efforts to stop "massacres" of the Syrian people.

Syrian rights activists say renewed shelling by pro-Assad forces killed at least four civilians in the opposition hub of Homs on Sunday. They say hundreds of people have been killed in Homs since the government began bombarding opposition-dominated districts of the central city February 4.

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Sunday said Syrian Red Crescent volunteers reached Homs and distributed food, medical supplies and blankets to thousands of people affected by a humanitarian crisis in the city.

In other developments, Syrian state news agency SANA said 22 security personnel were buried Sunday after being killed in fighting with armed terrorists whom Damascus blames for the uprising. One of those buried was Brigadier General Issa Ahmad al-Kholi, the head of a Damascus military hospital who was assassinated by gunmen near his home on Saturday.

Syrian state television also showed crowds gathering for funerals of some of the 28 people killed in suicide car bombings of two military sites in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday.

SANA also reported that a presidential commission assigned with drafting a new constitution submitted the document to Mr. Assad on Sunday. It said the Syrian president will review the proposed constitution and refer the document to parliament before putting it to a referendum. Syrian opposition activists have long dismissed Mr. Assad's reform pledges as meaningless while he continues suppressing his opponents.

The Arab League resolution adopted Sunday also calls on Syria's disparate opposition groups to unite before a new coalition of nations called the "Friends of Syria" meets in Tunisia on February 24. The United States and its European and Arab allies agreed to form the group in response to Russia and China blocking action by the U.N. Security Council.

Also Sunday, a Sudanese general who led an Arab League observer team in Syria resigned, while Arab foreign ministers agreed to formally end the mission. The regional bloc sent the observers to Syria with the agreement of Damascus in December but pulled them out last month as violence escalated.

In another move, the Arab foreign ministers nominated former Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Elah al-Khatib as a new special envoy for Syria. Al-Khatib was the U.N. troubleshooter for the Libyan crisis last year.

Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri called on Muslims in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to join the uprising against what he called Mr. Assad's "pernicious, cancerous regime."  All four states border Syria.  Al-Zawahiri's comments came after the suicide car bombings in Aleppo. No group has claimed responsibility, but such attacks are a hallmark of al-Qaida.

In Rome Sunday, Pope Benedict urged the Syrian government to recognize "the legitimate aspirations" of its people and embark on a national dialogue to end the violent crackdown.

The United Nations said last month that violence linked to the uprising had killed more than 5,400 people. U.N. officials stopped updating the death toll in January, saying it was too difficult to obtain information. Rights groups say hundreds more people have been killed since then.

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.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid