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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid