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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid