News / Middle East

Ban Decries 'Massive' Violation of Rights in Syria

A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows anti-regime demonstrators during a protest in Homs province, May 25 , 2012.A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows anti-regime demonstrators during a protest in Homs province, May 25 , 2012.
x
A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows anti-regime demonstrators during a protest in Homs province, May 25 , 2012.
A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows anti-regime demonstrators during a protest in Homs province, May 25 , 2012.
VOA News
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the "stepped-up security crackdown" by the Syrian government is leading to "massive violations of human rights" by both sides of the conflict.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council Friday, Ban said the presence of unarmed U.N. observers is "having a calming effect" but the overall level of violence in Syria remains "quite high".

Earlier Friday, the activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces had killed more than 50 people, including 13 children, in Houla in Homs province.


The group said government forces also shot and killed four people in the flashpoint Hama region and another person in southern Daraa province. Details of the incidents were not available.

The killings came as Friday prayers ended in Syria, and protesters spilled on to streets in major cities including Damascus and Aleppo, calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad.  

Although hundreds of United Nations observers are in the country, there appears to be little sign that violence between rebels and government forces is subsiding.

The continued unrest has strained a six-week-old cease-fire which is part of a peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan.

The Reuters news agency quoted an Annan spokesman as saying the envoy would travel to Syria "soon" for what would be his first visit since presenting the peace plan in March.

And the violence is having an impact in northern Lebanon, where ethnic clashes between opponents and supporters of Assad have left at least 11 dead and over 100 wounded in recent days .

VOA's Scott Bobb reports from northern Lebanon that tensions there are still running high.

"Historically, Syria has wielded a great deal of influence in Lebanon, its smaller neighbor, and even occupied it for years up until a few years ago. Although Syria did withdraw a few years ago, the influence is still there and it is resented by many people. In this particular case, in Tripoli, what happened was a Salafist sheikh, the Sunni Islamist, was killed at a checkpoint. He was known to be opposed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and this raised tensions with the local Allawite community, to which President Mr. Bashar al-Assad belongs."

A dozen Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims who were kidnapped in Syria this week while returning to Lebanon from Iran were released on Friday. While it was unclear who was behind the incident, it set off protests in Shi'ite areas of Beirut and a regional diplomatic spat.

"This is again another irritation or aggravation of the sectarian fault lines that exist in both societies. These are Shi'ite pilgrims in Syria who were captured by someone. It was claimed it was by the Syrian rebels, although the rebels denied it. Some of the anti-Damascus people [in Lebanon] said this was just one more act by the Syrian regime to try to sow dissent and curry favor for its cause," Bobb said.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ali Ridda
May 26, 2012 3:39 PM
Unless NATO intervenes in Syria immediately, the number of innocent Syrian children that would have been murdered by the Assad dictatorship will be beyond imagination. If NATO forces do not come to Syria, when the Assad dictatorship falls the revenge killings that will occur on a scale much larger than the horrific crimes we are witnessing today.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs