News / Middle East

Arab League Demands Change in Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, addresses the Parliament, in Damascus, Syria, March 30, 2011 (file photo)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, addresses the Parliament, in Damascus, Syria, March 30, 2011 (file photo)

The Arab League has called for "immediate change" in Syria, urging President Bashar al-Assad to end the government's violent crackdown on dissent and launch a comprehensive national dialogue.

Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo Tuesday demanded that Syrian authorities implement measures agreed upon during a visit to Damascus last week by the league's secretary-general.

Qatar's foreign minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who chaired the meeting, said the the current situation remains critical and that Syria must stop what he called its "killing machine."

Also Tuesday, Turkey's prime minister told the Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk that he fears the crisis in Syria could descend into a sectarian civil war between the Alawites and the Sunnis.

Syria's ruling elite belong to the minority Alawite sect - an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam - while most of the country's citizens are Sunni Muslim.

In separate comments before several thousand people in Cairo, Erdogan said civilian deaths have increased in Syria, but reforms have not followed. He said that neither the Syrian people nor the Turkish government believe anymore in  Assad.

Earlier Tuesday, activists said Syrian security forces carried out sweeping arrests and raids in areas outside the capital, Damascus, and in a string of cities including Daraa, Latakia and Banias.

Demonstrators also burned Russian flags in the flashpoint cities of Homs and Daraa to protest Moscow's support for  Assad. Both Russia and China oppose a draft U.N. Security Council resolution backed by European nations and the U.S. that would impose an arms embargo and other sanctions on Syria.

The United Nations estimates that 2,600 people have been killed in Syria's six-month-long uprising.

An aide to Assad disputed the U.N. figures Monday, saying that 1,400 have died. A Syrian government spokesman said the casualties have been evenly split between government forces and opposition activists.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
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 A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid