News / Middle East

Arab League Advance Team Arrives in Syria

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (C) meets a delegation of clan leaders from three cities in nation's northeastern region - Deir Ezzour, Raqqa and Hasaka - in Damascus, Syria, December 22, 2011.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (C) meets a delegation of clan leaders from three cities in nation's northeastern region - Deir Ezzour, Raqqa and Hasaka - in Damascus, Syria, December 22, 2011.

An advance team of Arab League observers has arrived in Syria, amid a mounting death toll from a crackdown on opposition unrest.

The team came Thursday to lay the groundwork for Arab League monitors who arrive over the coming weeks. The monitors will see whether Syria follows through on a pledge to stop attacks on anti-government protesters.

Activists say at least 21 people were killed on Thursday, following security force raids and clashes. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says nine of the deaths were in the flashpoint region of Homs.

Syria's government agreed to allow the observers into the country under global pressure to stop its bloody crackdown on dissent.

The Arab League also has been urging Syria to withdraw its security forces from neighborhoods and begin talks with the opposition.

Syrian opposition groups say troops have killed at least 250 people since Monday -- one of the bloodiest periods since the uprising began in March.

The Syrian government has blamed much of the deadly violence on "gunmen" and "terrorists." On Thursday, Syria said more than 2,000 security force members had been killed in the nine-month uprising.

The state-run SANA news agency says the government reported the death toll in information submitted to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Security Council members will hold more talks Thursday to "build consensus" on a Russian-sponsored draft resolution on Syria.

Turkey on Thursday condemned its neighbor, saying Syria's policies were turning the country into a "bloodbath."

A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said the violence raises serious concerns about Syria's true intentions, and that no administration can be a winner in a struggle against its own people.

The United Nations says at least 5,000 people have been killed during the uprising.

The British-based Avaaz rights group says it has collected evidence of more than 6,200 deaths, including at least 400 children. It says more than 69,000 Syrians have been detained. In a Thursday statement, executive director Ricken Patel said the figures mean "one in every 300 Syrians has either been killed or imprisoned" since the uprising began.

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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs