News / Middle East

Arab League Presses Syria to End Crackdown

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, October 9, 2011.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, October 9, 2011.

Arab diplomats met Sunday with top Syrian officials in Doha, Qatar to try to de-escalate tensions between the Syrian government and the popular opposition as a bloody government crackdown draws more international condemnation.

Syrian government forces pursued their violent crackdown in and around the flashpoint cities of Homs and Hama, as Arab diplomats worked to stop the bloodshed during talks with a top Syrian envoy in Doha, Qatar.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem in a bid to put an end to the mounting spiral of bloodshed and violence.  Al-Arabiya TV said Sheikh Hamad delivered an Arab League message “urging Syria to stop firing on unarmed civilians.”

The TV added Muallem complained the international community was over-reacting to “exaggerations and lies in the Arab media.”

It is not clear if any Syrian opposition leaders met with Muallem, but an opposition memo urged world leaders to “further isolate Syria, politically, diplomatically and economically.”

Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, believes the Arab League has sent a tough message to Assad that he must begin the process of stepping down or that more drastic measures will be taken. "I think this is a moment where the Arab League has probably laid down a fairly tough line and people are calling for Syria to be excluded. The Arab League has probably said 'you need to move forward and you need to start leaving power," he said.

Iran's Fars News Agency also reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was visiting the Qatari capital to “meet senior Qatari officials” and to “exchange views over regional and international issues.”  It is not clear if Salehi planned to meet with anyone from the Syrian opposition.

Earlier in an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Syrian President Bashar al Assad warned newspaper against Western intervention in his country's popular uprising, claiming it would “provoke an earthquake,” or an international crisis on a par with Afghanistan. Assad insisted Syria is able to deal with the crisis on its own.

He says that although the situation seems dangerous, Syria is able to deal with it and has started to make progress on the security front, recently.  He argues that it is necessary to make progress in maintaining security, but that he is not worried about the situation.

Opposition demonstrators called on the West during protests Friday to impose a “no-fly zone,” over their country, like the one imposed on Libya last March. Until now, China and Russia have opposed UN Security Council draft resolutions that impose any harsh sanctions on Damascus.

But a Chinese envoy to the Middle East warned Sunday that the situation in Syria is critical and the government crackdown on its people “could not continue.”  He urged the Assad government to hold talks with opponents, calling on Damascus to “show flexibility.”

Meanwhile, Syria's Prime Minister Adel Safar hosted a conference in Damascus on economic reform, which he called an “unstoppable process”:

He says that he considers reform all-encompassing process, including political, media, judicial, administrative and economic reforms.  He adds that there is no turning back on economic reform.

Syrian government supporters also staged a rally in the mostly Druze southern mountain town of Sweda.  Government TV showed large crowds of people chanting slogans in favor of President Assad and waving his picture.

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

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid