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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid