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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.