News / Middle East

    Arab League Struggles As Syrian Violence Mounts

    Arab league observers wearing orange vests oversee the releasing of Syrian prisoners who wait in queue to be released from Adra Prison on the outskirts of Damascus,  January 15, 2012
    Arab league observers wearing orange vests oversee the releasing of Syrian prisoners who wait in queue to be released from Adra Prison on the outskirts of Damascus, January 15, 2012

    Syrian human rights activists say at least five people were killed by pro-government forces Monday, as Arab League monitors struggle to document the violence.  

    It was another difficult day for Arab League monitors. One group, taken to hear evidence of unrest in areas just outside the capital, spent the morning listening to government official after government official tell of attacks against them.

    The group listened patiently, asking questions and seeking clarification. One case seemed particularly confusing - a sanitation official who said opposition forces in the restive town of Douma were trying to sabotage their own water supply.

    People in Douma talk to VOA about the ongoing violence

    The same monitors had a more trying experience the day before, as they went beyond government-controlled areas to investigate an attack in Zabadani. The observers were welcomed as heroes, but soon found themselves fleeing under gunfire. Who fired the shots is unclear.

    The observers, in their safety-orange vests, were meeting Monday just outside Damascus in a room decorated with portraits and photographs of President Bashar al-Assad and his father, Hafez. The uprising has been trying to end the Assad family's 40-year rule, first with peaceful protests, but increasingly with attacks by military defectors.

    With the Arab League mission faltering, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon again lashed out against the violence, saying when a leader is disconnected from reality and from the people, such a situation is inevitable. Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Ban said he hoped the Security Council would handle the issue with gravity.

    "I know that there are some differences of opinions among the member states of the Security Council but the number of casualties have reached to such an unacceptable stage, we cannot let this situation continue like this way. This is my urgent appeal," saind the U.N. chief.

    There has been little consensus internationally on intervening in the Syrian crisis, but the Arab League is set to consider a Qatari-proposed Arab force Saturday.

    The Syrian government blames the unrest on extremists and terrorists, but has announced further concessions, including the approval of another political party, and the day before, the repeated offer of a general amnesty.

    Few in the anti-government movement have any faith in the measures, saying they are far too little, far too late.

    For the Arab League monitors, they have been overseeing the government's release of political prisoners. Asked how they can assure those released will not be thrown back into jail, one observer shrugged slightly and said "we have their phone numbers."

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora