News / Middle East

Fears Grow That Syrian Situation Can Only Get Worse

In this image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed May 30, 2012, purports to show black smoke leaping the air from shelling in Homs, Syria. In this image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed May 30, 2012, purports to show black smoke leaping the air from shelling in Homs, Syria.
x
In this image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed May 30, 2012, purports to show black smoke leaping the air from shelling in Homs, Syria.
In this image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed May 30, 2012, purports to show black smoke leaping the air from shelling in Homs, Syria.
Outrage over reports of mass killings and continued shelling in Syria has led to plenty of tough talk about the worsening situation there.  But hopes for any peaceful resolution seems increasingly distant.  

On the latest amateur video from Syria  can be heard the sound of artillery allegedly falling again on the central city of Homs.

In the the town of Qusair, there is alarm after the discovery of 12 bodies - workers from a fertilizer plant shot dead after their bus was forced to stop at a checkpoint.

Aaron David Miller is a distinguished scholar at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center. He says the violence will likely get worse.

"You have all of the ingredients of continued conflict - sectarian killing, primarily government directed, but all kinds of possibilities for individual retribution," said Miller.

Miller says the situation on the ground is as complex and as messy as any produced by the Arab Spring uprisings last year.  And he says it is clear sanctions will do little to impress the government of President Basher al-Assad.

"I just don't believe that short of a major military intervention you're going to have much success in the short term," he said.

Syrian children play in the Lebanese village of Irsal, after fleeing the shelling and violence in Homs.

Accounts like this woman's feed the calls for intervention.

She says the Shabiha - pro-government militiamen - knocked on their doors before Friday prayers only to start shooting from the roof.  She asks, how were we supposed to stay?

Miller says as the world learns more about the violence and the alleged atrocities, the United States may feel compelled to act, though he warns military intervention could make it even more difficult to restore order.

And from the U.S. perspective, there are other complications.

Richard Murphy is the former U.S. ambassador to Syria:

"There is the basic acknowledgment that we don't understand the conflicting forces within Syria," said Murphy.

Finally, there is the U.S. public, which has watched the country's drawn-out military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and may not have the appetite for yet another deployment.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center in the U.S. found 25 percent of Americans think Washington should intervene, while more than 60 percent say they are against any military intervention.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 02, 2012 4:59 AM
I agree at the public opinion of American people. Leave Syrian cituation to Syrian people.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
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 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.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


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