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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs