News

Violence Continues in Syria as Peacekeeping Team Arrives

Free Syrian Army fighters guard a night protest in a neighborhood in Damascus, Syria, April 4, 2012.
Free Syrian Army fighters guard a night protest in a neighborhood in Damascus, Syria, April 4, 2012.

An advance peacekeeping team for U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Syria to begin laying the groundwork for a potential monitoring mission that could end the government's violent crackdown on dissent.

Kofi Annan's Six-Point Peace Plan

  • A Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.
  • A U.N. supervised end to armed violence by all parties in Syria.
  • Timely humanitarian assistance in all areas affected by fighting.
  • Increasing the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained people.
  • Ensuring freedom of movement for journalists.
  • Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully.

Reuters news says the team arrived in Damascus on Thursday, just hours after a spokesman for Annan said Syria had begun withdrawing troops from three areas as part of a cease-fire plan.

Spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters that negotiators expected a "complete cessation of violence" by an April 10 deadline that Syria agreed to meet.

In spite of continued reports of government shelling, he said Syria had committed to upholding the provisions in Annan's six-point peace plan.

"We have no doubts that we have this commitment," said Fawzi. "They have agreed to the six-point plan. They have agreed to the 10th of April deadline."

Meanwhile, rights activists reported shelling and heavy gunfire Thursday in the Damascus suburb of Douma and additional fighting in northern Aleppo province near the Turkish border.

 

Turkey's disaster management agency said Thursday more than 1,600 Syrians fled into Turkey in the past two days.

U.N. Security Council members are weighing a presidential statement that "expresses its grave concern" that Syria has not yet implemented the cease-fire deal.

In a draft obtained by VOA, the Security Council also demands that President Bashar al-Assad's government "immediately and verifiably" stop the use of heavy weapons and pull military forces back from population centers.

Watch related video of violence, government troops

U.N. diplomats say the statement could be adopted Thursday.  Annan is scheduled to brief the U.N. General Assembly Thursday on the status of his mediation efforts, and his spokesman said he will travel to Syrian ally Iran for talks on April 11.

The United Nations says more than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Assad began a year ago.

Timeline

Loading...

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

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: Dina
April 05, 2012 7:38 AM
The regime must go immediately, their hope is to use violence to intimidate the people into submission and then control them using the same methods as the old regime. The people will never accept living under a regime and a minority rule that is so barbaric and sadistic. They simply would rather die.

by: Dina
April 05, 2012 7:37 AM
it's ridiculous that anyone reports anything the regime says as if it is fact. Anyone inside Syria will tell you that the shelling, snipers, murder and rape has not only continued, it has escalated. How long can any country continue to sustain it's government killing hundreds EVERY day?

by: Realist
April 05, 2012 6:54 AM
An advance peace keeping team will achieve very little apart from
publicity. How can they possibly guarantee peace now and in the future. Surely given the number of civillians that have lost their lives and those that have fled, describes the situation?

by: hellfire harvey
April 05, 2012 4:15 AM
You report that Syrian troops are pulling back yet the Daily Telegraph says the exact opposite, that troops are attacking Damascus suburbs. So which is it? Some one is obviously lying.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs