News / Middle East

UN Syrian Envoy: Syria 'Breaking Apart'

UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, January 11, 2013.
UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, January 11, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, warned Tuesday that Syria “is being destroyed” and called on a divided U.N. Security Council to take action to prevent the situation from escalating further.  

Brahimi held private talks with the 15-nation Security Council for two hours.  Afterwards, he told reporters that he is calling on the council to put aside its differences and take action.

“Syria is being destroyed bit-by-bit," said Brahimi. "And in destroying Syria, the region is being pushed into a situation that is extremely bad and extremely important for the entire world.  That is why I believe the Security Council simply cannot continue to say we are in disagreement, therefore, let’s wait for better times.  I think they have got to grapple with this problem now.”

The council has been bitterly divided for nearly a year over how to address the crisis.  Russia and China have three times vetoed resolutions obstructing council action, garnering international criticism for shielding President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

  • A girl waves the revolutionary Syrian flag during a protest against President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the 1982 Hama massacre, in Amman, Jordan, February 1, 2013.
  • Dutch student Wijbe Abma, 21, right, has raised more than $17,000 to buy warm blankets for the Syrian refugees, delivering the aid through local activists and rebel groups.
  • Anti-Syrian regime protesters flash the victory sign as they hold a banner during a demonstration, at Kafr Nabil town, in Idlib province, northern Syria, February 1, 2013.
  • Syrian citizens pray over the bodies of those who were found dead next to a river last Tuesday and who were not identified by their relatives, in Aleppo, Syria on January 31, 2013.
  • The bodies of dozens of men, many of them with their hands bound behind their backs, were found on the muddy banks of a small river January 29, 2013 in the northern city of Aleppo.
  • Relatives and Free Syrian Army fighters bury the body of Ammar Al-Achaqer, who activists said was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, near Homs, Syria, January 29, 2013. (Shaam News Network)
  • An internally displaced boy looks out of a school at a village outside Damascus, January 28, 2013.
  • This image taken from video shows a Free Syrian Army fighter speaking in front of a government intelligence complex in Deir el-Zour, Syria, January 29, 2013. (Ugarit News)
  • A Free Syrian Army soldier flashes the victory sign as damage caused by warplanes and rocket launchers is seen at background in Hama, Syria, January 28, 2013. Image taken from video.
  • Syrian refugees search for their belongings at a burned tent at the Al Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, January 28, 2013.

The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have died as a result of the nearly two-year-old conflict, and the toll continues to rise.  Hours before Brahimi addressed the Security Council in New York, Syrians worked to retrieve and identify the bodies of dozens of young men bound and executed and dumped in a river in Aleppo.

Brahimi said the communiqué that came out of an international meeting on Syria last June in Geneva provides many elements of what is needed for a political solution to the crisis, but that it needs further Security Council action to be implemented.

He said one critical element is the creation of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, but that the authors of the communiqué were deliberately ambiguous about it and must be specific now.

“That ambiguity has to be lifted now," he said. "You’ve got to say what these full executive powers mean.  And for me, and I think for many people, it means exactly that - all powers of state have to go to that [transitional] government.”

The veteran diplomat, who took up his post after former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan quit in frustration in August, dismissed rumors that he is considering resigning.  He said the United Nations has no choice but to remain engaged on this crisis and that he would continue to persevere.

The envoy said he would continue his discussions Tuesday night over dinner with the ambassadors of the permanent five members of the Security Council.

On Wednesday, international donors will meet in Kuwait to pledge funds for Syrians affected by the crisis.  The United Nations has appealed for $1.5 billion to assist some 5 million people inside and outside the country for the next six months.  The United States has already announced it will give an additional $155 million to help meet urgent humanitarian needs.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
January 30, 2013 5:18 AM
Russia and China are criminals in this case and most of the victims are on them.

by: david lulasa from: tambua,hamisi,vihiga,keny
January 30, 2013 5:10 AM
its now time for both sides,pro and anti syria to try to understand each otheras perspective,though assads side must have had a perspective that sees syria vulnerable because of the free syrian forces and protesters,thats actually a perspective led by selfishness,the truth is that assad and his group dont have the word fair and satisfied in their vocabulary,its they who are destroying syria and the world and so the whole world including russia and china must show such a fair concern as this of brahimi....and everyone hopes other powers such as USA will join hands with the chinese and russians and not just to always want to be in different sides with them.


by: Anonymous
January 29, 2013 9:16 PM
The Arab League should take the lead, and Nato should back the Arab League. Everytime the west gets involved they get criticized , damned if they do, damned if they don't. The only thing that stopped the West from already disabling Bashar al Assad was Russia and China. How can the Arab League sit back and watch the country of Syria become destroyed and thousands murdered. The Arab League needs to stand tall. Ideally it would be great to see the Arab League help bring Bashar al Assad to the ICC to face crimes against humanity/murder/and genocide.

Would Russia allow anyone to help the Syrian people?
Or does Russia still have their stance on making the Syrian people suffer? Of course nobody wants ww3 OR genocide to take place. If Russia is still blocking the Syrian people from achieving help to get rid of Tyrant Bashar al Assad, then Russia will show they do not care about the people of Syria, and are enabling genocide.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs