News / Middle East

UN Syria Envoy Resigns

Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012.
Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012.
VOA News
Kofi Annan is stepping down as U,N.-Arab League peace envoy for Syria, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon announced Thursday as battles raged throughout Syria.
 
After months of shuttle diplomacy, Annan has failed to produce a breakthrough in Syria's 17-month-long crisis  His diplomacy, including a cease-fire brokered in April, has failed to stop fighting between rebels and government forces.

Ban said a search for a replacement has begun.
 
“My consultations with the League of Arab States Secretary-General are under way with a view to the prompt appointment of a successor who can carry on this crucial peacemaking effort,” he said. “ I remain convinced that yet more bloodshed is not the answer; each day of it will only make the solution more difficult while bringing deeper suffering to the country and greater peril to the region.”

Kofi Annan's Six-Point Peace Plan
 
  • A Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.
  • A U.N. supervised end to armed violence by all parties in Syria.
  • Timely humanitarian assistance in all areas affected by fighting.
  • Increasing the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained people.
  • Ensuring freedom of movement for journalists.
  • Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully.
The secretary-general admitted his envoy’s efforts have not worked.
 
“Both the government and the opposition forces continue to demonstrate their determination to rely on ever-increasing violence,” he said. “In addition, the persistent divisions within the Security Council have themselves become an obstacle to diplomacy, making the work of any mediator vastly more difficult.”

Syria-government allies Russia and China repeatedly blocked action in the Security Council to stiffen penalties against the Syrian regime. Russia said Thursday that it regrets Annan's decision to quit.

Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have used a captured tank to shell a military base in the northern city of Aleppo, as government forces pounded rebel strongholds in the city with tank and artillery fire.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the government shelling left seven people dead. The Britain-based group also says cell phone and Internet service is being gradually restored in Aleppo after being cut on Wednesday.

x
Activists say a security force raid in Damascus on Wednesday left dozens of people dead.  Syrian state media said the operation targeted "terrorists," a reference to the rebels.

Another opposition activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, said fighting killed six others in the flashpoint city of Homs. The group also reported warplanes flying over Daraa.

Assad has urged his security forces to "step up the fight" against the rebels trying to push him from power.

A Pentagon spokesman says U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Jordan's King Abdullah have discussed what he called the "intolerable acts" of the Syrian regime and the prospects for a political transition in Syria. Panetta is in Jordan as part of a regional tour.

Special Report - Arab Spring: The Evolution of Revolutions

International reaction

Russia and China have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria but the General Assembly resolutions are non-binding and cannot be vetoed.

Also, U.S. sources told western media that President Barack Obama signed an order earlier this year allowing the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. agencies to provide support to the rebels.

The National Security Council declined to comment to VOA about the report

The United States has stepped up the rhetoric against Assad. U.S. officials condemned Assad's message calling on his armed forces to keep fighting while his own whereabouts remain unknown.

"We think it’s cowardly, quite frankly, to have a man who’s hiding out of sight be exhorting his armed forces to continue to slaughter the civilians of his own country," said U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell.

"We think it’s really despicable to be exhorting his armed forces to continue this slaughter and this bloodshed," he said.

The Syrian leader has not been seen since unknown rebels assassinated four members of his inner circle in a Damascus bombing last month. On Wednesday, he failed to appear to mark his country's Armed Forces Day, instead issuing a written statement.

Humanitarian needs

The bloody 17-month uprising in Syria has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and left millions in need of humanitarian aid.

United Nations agencies say up to three million people in Syria will need food, crops and livestock assistance in the next year.

A statement Thursday by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.N. World Food Program says the findings are based on a joint mission the two agencies conducted in June with Syria's agriculture ministry.

The mission found that the Syrian agricultural sector has lost $1.8 billion this year because of the conflict, with crops such as wheat and barley badly affected.

"While the economic implications of these losses are quite grave, the humanitarian implications are far more pressing," the WFP's representative in Syria, Muhannad Hadi, said in Thursday's statement. "The effects of these major losses are first, and most viciously, felt by the poorest in the country. Most of the vulnerable families the mission visited reported less income and more expenditure - their lives becoming more difficult by the day."

'Most vulnerable'

Of the three million people in need of assistance, the U.N. agencies say some 1.5 million need "urgent and immediate" food assistance during the next three to six months, while close to a million people need crop and livestock assistance.

"The most vulnerable families in Syria depend entirely or partly on agriculture and farm animals for food and income. They need emergency support, like seeds, repairs to irrigation systems, animal feed and healthcare," said FAO Representative in Syria Abdulla BinYehia.

"If timely assistance is not provided, the livelihood system of these vulnerable people could simply collapse in a few months' time," he said. "Winter is fast approaching and urgent action is needed before then."

According to the report, farmers have been forced to either abandon farming or leave crops unattended due to insecurity and difficulties such as lack of labor and fuel.

Wheat harvesting has been delayed in Daraa, rural Damascus, Homs and Hama, and the mission says part of the crop could be lost without assistance.

Timeline: Syrian uprising
Loading...

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kadi Kabila from: Congo
August 02, 2012 1:27 PM
Dear VOA, its time for Israel to unleash her fury... please tell her Africa loves you mighty Israel... we dance in your honor
In Response

by: Giuseppe from: Canada-USA
August 02, 2012 6:54 PM
...you know... when I read comments like yours, (Kadi Kabila), I don't feel that bad about the idea of "total nuclear obliteration" of some area(s) on this planet. With your attitude, "that" might just happen.
Just be careful, "your area(s)" is not one of those (if you you could have the UNLIKELY CHOICE).

by: hMh from: UK
August 02, 2012 11:48 AM
the incompetent Annan... Idiot of the month... what a disgrace this guy is...
In Response

by: Giuseppe
August 02, 2012 10:33 PM
Hey, Kadi Kabila! On a second reading of your comment of earlier today... "Africa loves you mighty Israel"..... Mighty WHO?
At 16 Billion US Dollars a year, any "Arlequin" can play "mighty.
Most regrettable is that they (Illuminati and Zions) for their pockets and egos, play with innocent lives being killed every day, every where....
In Response

by: JOHN from: Australia
August 02, 2012 6:54 PM
I give more credit to Annan than Camron, Mitt Romeny, Bush Blair etc and I am sure this whole Syria conflict was started by Isreal and the west. Isreal is the biggest liar, what is it that makes them think they are better than anyone else. The whole conflict in the middle east is Isreal arrogance fault. My prediction is they will burn and it will be their own fault
In Response

by: Giuseppe from: Canada-USA
August 02, 2012 6:47 PM
I suggest you save some "name calling"... you never know - you may need some for... (say...) yourself.

by: Anonymous
August 02, 2012 10:18 AM
"We think it’s really despicable to be exhorting his armed forces to continue this slaughter and this bloodshed,"

How on earth can Assad run a country if he cannot face his very own people. What does Assad think, he can run the country in the future from a television and video cameras? Must feel disgusting when you have to hide from your own people and cannot face them. How on earth does he expect he can continue to be the ruler of Syria? How can he expect to represent the Syrian people? He can't... Syrian people are NOT like Assad, he doesn't represent anyone but himself.

Assad is destroying his own country, all he has to do is just go, and save the integrity of Syria.

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