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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.