News

Despite Violence, Syria Pledges to Meet Cease-Fire Deadline

Mourners carry the coffin of Lebanese television cameraman Ali Shaaban, of Al-Jadeed TV who was shot dead on the Lebanon-Syria border, in front of Al-Jadeed TV, in Beirut, Lebanon, April 10, 2012.
Mourners carry the coffin of Lebanese television cameraman Ali Shaaban, of Al-Jadeed TV who was shot dead on the Lebanon-Syria border, in front of Al-Jadeed TV, in Beirut, Lebanon, April 10, 2012.

Syria has promised to comply with a U.N.-brokered cease-fire beginning Thursday morning, the day set by U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan as the deadline for a halt to 13 months of bloodshed.

In a statement Wednesday, Damascus said the army has successfully fought off "armed terrorist groups" and has "reasserted the state's rule across the country."

The statement says that a decision has been made to stop these missions as of Thursday morning ((April 12, 2012)). But it also warned that armed forces will remain on standby to retaliate against any attacks by the armed terrorist groups against civilians or troops.

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.

Kofi Annan brokered a six-part peace plan last month that called for Syria's government to withdraw its forces from major urban areas by April 10 and stop combat operations by Thursday.

The Syrian government agreed to the plan, which also called for opposition forces to stop fighting, and said it began a phased withdrawal Tuesday. But opponents say government shelling continued in many areas and that at least 11 people were killed Wednesday in flashpoint opposition areas, including the central Homs region and Damascus suburbs.

The Obama administration says Damascus needs to match its words with deeds.

At a meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in Washington Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed alarm at the ongoing violence in Syria, and concern about the problems facing special envoy Kofi Annan in his efforts to bring about a cease-fire and an end to the violence.

White House spokesman Jay Carney cautioned that President Bashar al-Assad's regime has reneged on promises to stop the violence in the past.  

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Syria's promise to halt hostilities by Thursday cannot be construed as complying with Annan's six-point peace plan. She said nothing casts more doubt on the credibility of the commitments than the fact that, in her words, "commitments have been made and made, and broken and broken and broken."

Secretary Clinton said she will again try to convince Syrian ally Russia that the situation in Syria is "deteriorating" and that the chances of a regional or civil war are increasing. She is due to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later Wednesday in Washington.

The United States and its Western partners have pressed for stronger action against Syria for months but have been hindered by Russian and Chinese opposition to what those two nations call outside interference in Syria.

Russia said Wednesday that since the Syrian government had pledged to halt its offensive on Thursday, it is now the armed opposition's turn to do the same.

Syrian Network for Human Rights chairman Mousab Azzawi told VOA Wednesday that the Syrian government continued efforts to punish dissenters, in spite of its promises to the international community, and that Annan should admit that his peace initiative has failed. "Everything he has been promised by the regime, the regime just tries to find a loophole in the initiative and tries to empty the initiative," he said.

U.N. officials say more than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began 13 months ago.

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: Loeber
April 11, 2012 7:01 PM
Cowardice is clear in President Obama's failure to act to stop the mass murder, maiming and torture of Syrians .. on March 28, 2011 he said ..

“To brush aside America’s responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” (Except in an election year?)

“Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different,” (Except in an election year?)

by: zack
April 11, 2012 2:05 PM
I am Syrian and what we have in Syria is the worst of dictatorship, 40 years of sucking Syria's resources, is enough , Bashar and his thugs are ruthless criminals who should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, please dop not listen to theirs conspiracy non-sense.
thank you and God bless you.

by: American of Syrian descent
April 11, 2012 1:13 PM
President Obama and NATO should deploy NATO forces to Syria's coast and just level Bashar al-Assad's forces using NATO aviation and naval assets. Bashar al-Assad is a criminal thug who is murdering, raping, imprisoning, and torturing tens of thousands of innocent, men, women, and children. Bashar an his supporters cannot hide the truth. NATO intervention to bring down Bashar's gang of thugs is imminent.

by: Nini
April 11, 2012 10:25 AM
May be some one must be asking whether the Rebel terrorist have put down there weapons. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are providing the moral support ,Weapons , mercenaries to let this war go on unnecessary.
At the Same time america is support dictator US and QATAR. WHY THE TWO FACE.

by: sj
April 11, 2012 9:53 AM
Give me a break its a sham! Only a DEMOCRAP would buy this slop coming from Syria and aided by China and Russia who sell there military products there.!
Or a useless employee of the "UNITED NATIONS". LOL!
Kofi is a stupid idiot!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs