News

Syrian Groups: At Least 60 Dead in Fresh Violence

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the opening of the Jakarta International Defense Dialogue in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 21, 2012.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the opening of the Jakarta International Defense Dialogue in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 21, 2012.

Fresh clashes broke out across Syria, a day after the United Nations Security Council called for the government and opponents to enact a peace plan proposed by a U.N. envoy.

Opposition and rights groups Thursday said the latest wave of violence had killed at least 60 people, more than half of them civilians.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA a bus carrying 10 people was attacked in Idlib province by unidentified assailants. Activists say at least five women and children were killed.  A separate group, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LOC) said the bus had been heading for a refugee camp across the border in Syria.  Syria's state-run news agency SANA blames armed terrorists for the incident.

The groups also blamed the Syrian government for shelling and clashes with rebels in Hama Thursday and a deadly ambush by opposition forces in the southern province, Daraa.  Activists also reported government troops killing three people in the Homs' district town of Qusair.

They said other fatalities included Syrian soldiers who had refused to fire on civilians.

Speaking in Malaysia Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a Security Council statement has sent a "clear" message to the Syrian government and signals a "turning point" in the international community's response to the crisis.

"All the violence must stop," said Ban. "And, there should be a political negotiation, inclusive political negotiation for the resolution of this issue, in a way which can meet the aspiration of the Syrian people and also humanitarian access should be established.''

The Security Council approved the so-called "presidential statement" Wednesday threatening Syria with unspecified "further steps" if international envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace proposal is rejected.

Watch related video

Activists welcomed the action. VOA spoke with a Syrian activist living in the United States, who prefers to remain anonymous. She says activists in Syria and abroad see the Security Council statement as a "successful step."

"We see this as a very good step toward the right actions to stand with the Syrian people and also like a very good step to establish a transitional plan," she said.

The United Nations says at least 8,000 people have been killed in the Assad government's violent crackdown on the revolt, which began with peaceful protests and became increasingly militarized as army defectors attacked pro-Assad troops who assaulted civilians.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement Thursday saying Syrian security forces are committing "serious abuses" in Qusair, including shelling of residential areas and attacking fleeing residents. The group also described "dire" humanitarian conditions in the city.

The international community will hold its second "Friends of Syria" meeting next month in Istanbul amid efforts to bring the year-long government crackdown to an end. The U.S. State Department announced Thursday that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the meeting on April 1.

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

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.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: bob
March 22, 2012 2:35 PM
The U.S. should stop helping the Syrian thugs in the face of opposition. Syrian people themselves will deal with the bandits, if the U.S. would not help them

by: jees
March 22, 2012 10:08 AM
Shame on those who support Free syrain army

by: almoros
March 22, 2012 9:54 AM
UN is right, but additionally, the world has to pay more attention to the worries and rights of Christians there in Syria!

by: NVO
March 22, 2012 8:27 AM
The UN, one of the leaders of the most CORRUPT organizations in the world that support rogue nations, and are pushing for a One World Government under the New World Order, to be(future tense) headed up by the AntiChrist and the False Prophet. The UN is a sham at best. Scripture wins.

by: NVO
March 22, 2012 8:05 AM
The UN is right in there with The Club of Rome, The Trilateral Commission, The Counsel of Foreing Relations, ALL pushing for a One World Government under The New World Order. The whole thing is a ploy and a sham! Down with the New World Order! Scripture wins.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs