Diplomats Push for End to Syria's Violence

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, right, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah chat before a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat in R
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, right, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah chat before a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat in R

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended a "strategic forum" between the United States and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council in Saudi Arabia Saturday to discuss issues that included bringing an end to Syria's crackdown on dissent and countering the growing threat of Iran.

The forum took place on the eve the 60-nation "Friends of the Syria" meeting in Turkey Sunday, aimed at boosting opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  Clinton, as well as diplomats from other nations that support Syrian opposition groups, are scheduled to attend.  

The U.S. remains opposed to arming Syria's rebels, which some Gulf states have proposed, and is instead working to unify the splintered opposition groups, and find ways to get humanitarian aid into the country.

A Look at the "Friends of Syria" Meeting in Istanbul

  • Attendees: Representatives of more than 70 Western and Arab countries, the opposition Syrian National Council and a delegation for U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan
  • Goals: The group is expected to discuss plans for ending Syria's deadly anti-government unrest; The group may endorse a peace plan crafted by Annan
  • Last Meeting: The "Friends of Syria" met in Tunisia on February 24. It sought a pledge from Syria to halt violence and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid

Ahead of Sunday's meeting in Istanbul, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said a peace plan put forward by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is the "minimum" of what Syria must do "urgently and without delay."  "If that delay continues, and if the people are being killed every day, more and more casualties being in the news, of course the hope for Annan's plan will be lost," he said.

Syria's regime declared Saturday that the bid to topple President Assad was over, but that it would not withdraw its troops from urban areas until stability is restored.

Meanwhile, violence in Syria continued.  The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA that government shelling and clashes between security forces and protesters had left 25 people dead Saturday.

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

In a letter to the U.N. on Friday, Syria said acts by "armed terrorist groups" had led to the deaths of more than 6,100 people in Syria since the start of the uprising.

Reported deaths in violence across Syria

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

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Comment Sorting
by: nan zhang
April 01, 2012 6:06 AM

by: S
March 31, 2012 10:42 PM
SULEYMAN, Hitler killed Jews, Assad is killing antisemites and other religious or ethnic bigots. They are extremists at opposite ends of the spectrum. Assad is a hero who kills duplicitous Islamist snakes who think Syria is the same as Lybia. Assad is a defender of humanity in Syria against the cancer of blind faith and total submission.

by: S
March 31, 2012 10:21 PM
Observe the body language, lying duplicitous "Arab" dogs in the picture doing their best to appear to be not the antisemites they actually are. They are a disgrace to Arabs and Muslims alike. Madam Clinton on the other hand, has more integrity in her pinky toe than both those "men" combined.

by: Aliyari
March 31, 2012 3:34 PM
No country has the right say about Syria.
Government of Syria has the right kill or not to kills
Just keep your mouth closed
this is it if you eager to come in Damuscus
I show what is Freedom.

by: Wim Roffel
March 31, 2012 1:39 PM
When will Clinton finally commit to a peaceful solution and real negotiations?

by: Libyan
March 31, 2012 11:57 AM
It is a matter time. The end of this killing regime is coming from killing people. the more you kill the more people will be determined to overthrow it. It is not fair that this regime is being backed by Rissua, China, and Iran with arsonal of weapons and the revolutionaries are using just simple weapons. Let it be fair and see, arm the revoluionaries fighters. The afriad of weapons after this regime ends is not logical becuase the weapons are thier anyway.

March 31, 2012 11:53 AM
Bashar al-Assad like Hitler is a dictator. Killing innocent civilians. The world does not come together, will kill all the people of Syria.

by: Dave
March 31, 2012 7:59 AM
you have here a dictator who is terrified of ending up like Saddam or Qaddafi, a people who are outraged after losing thousands of loved ones to the military's bullets, and a military who have stepped over the threshold point from warfare to murder... in such a place, words cannot solve anything without force... and the UN once again has been stymied, by that STUPID VETO given to any member of the permanent security committee.

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