News / Middle East

Syria Rejects Arab League Call for End to 'Bloodshed'

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby attends the body's meeting at its headquarters in Cairo, August 27, 2011
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby attends the body's meeting at its headquarters in Cairo, August 27, 2011

Syria has rejected an Arab League statement calling for an end to deadly violence that has shaken the country, as the government cracks down on a five-month-old pro-democracy uprising.

In a statement issued early Sunday after an emergency meeting in Cairo, the Arab bloc called for a stop to "bloodshed" in Syria "before it is too late." It also said Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby is ready to visit Syria to try to resolve the crisis, but did not say when the trip would happen.

Syria responded with a protest note accusing the Arab League of violating diplomatic protocol and saying Damascus regards the statement as "non-existent."

The United Nations has said more than 2,200 people have been killed since March, when protesters began calling for reforms and an end to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's 11-year autocratic rule.

Syrian rights activists say security forces killed at least four people late Saturday into Sunday, in the latest crackdown on opposition activity. They say two people were killed in the northern province of Idlib, one in the southern province of Dara'a and one in the Damascus suburb of Harasta.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Sunday that Ankara has lost confidence in Syria, its neighbor to the south. Turkish state news agency Anatolia quoted Gul as saying the situation has reached a stage in which any gestures by the Syrian government will be "too little, too late."

Syrian state news agency SANA says Assad authorized a new media law Sunday, requiring the government to lift most restrictions on local journalists and allow independent news organizations to operate.

The Syrian government has barred most foreign journalists from working in the country, making it difficult to verify reports of the unrest. Syrian opposition activists have dismissed Assad's previous promises of reforms as meaningless while the government crackdown continues.

Syrian border authorities also stopped three opposition activists from crossing into neighboring Lebanon Sunday to participate in a televised discussion on the Syrian uprising. The activists criticized the government for blocking their trip. The three were Michel Kilo, Loay Hussein and Fayez Sara.

In another development, Syrian rights activists say security forces attacked protesters who gathered at a mosque in the Damascus suburb of Kfar Sousa on Saturday, wounding several people including the imam.

Syria's interior ministry issued a warning Sunday to Damascus residents not to respond to calls on social media for more demonstrations in the capital.

The Syrian government denies reports of protests in the capital and blames the country's recent violence on what it calls armed gangs and terrorists backed by foreign conspirators.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid