News / Middle East

Syria Says Voters Back New Constitution, Fresh Violence Kills 10

Syria's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar announces the results of the referendum on a new constitution in Damascus, February 27, 2012.
Syria's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar announces the results of the referendum on a new constitution in Damascus, February 27, 2012.

Ten people were killed by Syrian military forces killed, according to activists, as the government announced that Syrian voters overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that is being portrayed as a step toward democratization.

Syria's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar told a press conference in Damascus Monday that more than eight million of Syria's 14 million registered voters turned out for Sunday's referendum and that nearly 90 percent cast ballots in favor of the new constitution.

The new document will create a multi-party system in Syria, which has been governed solely by the Baath Party since 1963, and set presidential term limits. But President Bashar al-Assad will still be very powerful.

Opposition factions boycotted the referendum, saying the only acceptable solution to Syria's crisis is for Mr. Assad to step down.

Syria Says Voters Back New Constitution, Fresh Violence Kills 10
Syria Says Voters Back New Constitution, Fresh Violence Kills 10

Meanwhile, opposition videos from the embattled city of Homs show areas were being pounded by government artillery in the 24th day of attacks. A thick cloud of smoke rose near a mosque in the Baba Amr district after what appears to be a strike from a large caliber shell.

VOA cannot confirm accounts from the video and the Syrian government is not allowing most foreign journalists into the country.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it is continuing negotiations with the government to evacuate seriously wounded victims of shelling in Homs, including several foreign journalists. The Syrian Red Crescent was allowed to deliver food and medical aid to the besieged city of Hama, north of Homs.

In Brussels, European Union foreign ministers voted to impose a new series of sanctions on Syria and individuals close to Mr. Assad. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on the Syrian opposition to unite and said Europe is not supporting any particular faction.

“We work with all of the people who are trying to find a solution,” Ashton said.

Many Syrian opposition leaders are working to arm a group of military defectors known as the Free Syrian Army, said analyst Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut.

"The new group led by al-Maleh says that the work of the [opposition] Syrian National Council has proved to be ineffectual and there is a need to use a more aggressive approach in dealing with the regime in Damascus and the announcement for the new movement called for focusing on the military efforts of the Free Syrian Army,” Khashan said.

In Doha, Qatar's foreign minister called on foreign governments Monday to help arm the Free Syrian Army.

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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid