News / Middle East

Dozens More Killed in Syrian Violence

This image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed June 18, 2012, purports to show a Syrian military tank in Daraa, Syria.
This image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed June 18, 2012, purports to show a Syrian military tank in Daraa, Syria.
Carla Babb
Syrian activists say violence across the country Monday killed at least 56 people, as diplomats anticipate a stark update on the situation from the head of the U.N. observer mission on the ground.
 
The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdelrahman, told VOA that the heaviest fighting and shelling was in Homs city and in areas of Damascus province. He said two children were among those killed in Douma, an area that Syrian forces have bombarded for days.

The death toll cannot be independently verified.

The escalating violence forced some 300 unarmed U.N. observers to suspend their monitoring mission two days ago. The U.N. sent its observers to Syria to monitor the implementation of a six-point peace plan and cease-fire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan. The cease-fire never took hold and a group of observers came under attack last week when they went to visit the town of al-Haffeh.

Diplomats at the United Nations have confirmed that the head of the observer mission, Major General Robert Mood, will brief the Security Council on the Syrian crisis during closed consultations on Tuesday. The U.N. Security Council must decide whether to renew the mission by July 15.

British ambassador to the U.N., Mark Lyall Grant, said he would not entirely rule out the possibility of pulling the mission's mandate ahead of schedule due to recent developments on the ground.

"We are very concerned about the increasing levels of violence, and we lay all the responsibility for that at the door of the Syrian regime," he said. "I think what we will want to hear from General Mood is what he thinks the prognosis is for the mission, and I think there will be a lot of member states of the council, including us, who will be questioning now what the future is for the mission and, therefore, by extension the Annan plan."

Syrian opposition officials in Istanbul, including the Syrian National Council's Bassam Imadi, said recently they believe the U.N. mission has failed.
 
Meanwhile, Arab League chief Nabil El-Araby said during a visit to Cyprus that international peacekeepers should be deployed to Syria.

"When there are two parties that have resorted to fighting you cannot get someone just to observe unless they both accept," El-Araby said. "So, what you need is someone who can impose a cease-fire, not fight, impose a cease-fire."

While he stressed that the Syrian crisis was an "internal matter," he said a meeting between the Russian and U.S. leaders on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Mexico will be the "most important" event in enlisting outside support for efforts to end the conflict in Syria "in a way that will give the Syrian people the right to attain their legitimate demands."

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a joint statement after the meeting that they were "united" in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to "democratically choose their own future." Neither leader mentioned any of the disagreements that have divided the two countries on how to resolve the Syrian conflict.
 
Russia, a longtime ally of Syria, has shielded President Bashar al-Assad from U.N. sanctions sought by Western and Arab powers who oppose his 11-year rule.

Speaking in Geneva Monday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad may be guilty of war crimes for the killing of innocent civilians.  

“All violations of the human rights of the Syrian people at the hands of all parties to the conflict must end," Pillay said at the opening of the 20th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.  "The government of Syria should immediately cease the use of heavy armaments and shelling of populated areas, as such actions amount to crimes against humanity and possible war crimes.”

Opposition groups say more than 14,000 people have died in the unrest since March of last year.

Lisa Schlein from Geneva and Margaret Besheer from the United Nations
contributed to this report.

You May Like

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
June 18, 2012 4:23 PM
Gosh fellas. Russian's sending troops and ships to Syria. This is a clear sign of desperation. Russia is a desperate team on the pitch. Yes sir. Why? No team sends in a ramp up in forces...and these are clearly evacuation forces....if they didn't hold a precarious position on the field of play.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid