News / Middle East

Red Crescent Evacuates Three Wounded Syrians from Homs

TEXT SIZE - +

The International Committee of the Red Cross says Syrian aid workers have evacuated several people from a Homs neighborhood besieged by government forces, but have failed to rescue a group of Western journalists trapped in the area.

An ICRC spokesman in Geneva says Syrian Arab Red Crescent ambulances entered the rebel-held district of Baba Amr on Monday, evacuating three wounded Syrians. He says the aid workers were not able to evacuate the Western journalists, two of whom are wounded, or to retrieve the bodies of two others killed in a shelling attack last week.

The ICRC has been negotiating with the Syrian government and the rebels for days to try to secure access to Baba Amr, where local activists say many people are short of water, food and medical supplies after more than three weeks of daily government bombardments.

Syrian rights activists said more than 60 people were killed trying to flee the attacks on the central city of Homs, a hub of Syria's 11-month uprising against autocratic President Bashar al-Assad. It was not clear where or when the people were killed. Syrian state news agency SANA also said 16 security personnel were buried after being killed in fighting with rebels.

The United Nations' top human rights body is due to hold an urgent meeting on the Syrian crisis in Geneva Tuesday. The Associated Press says it obtained a draft Council resolution that would call on the Syrian government to end attacks on civilians and would condemn Damascus for "widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said Monday the rebel Free Syrian Army should be given weapons to defend the Syrian people. Qatar has been one of President Assad's strongest Arab critics.

In other developments Monday, Syria drew a mixed international response to its holding of a referendum a day earlier on approving a new constitution. Damascus said 90 percent of voters approved the new constitution, which allows the creation of a multi-party system and sets presidential term limits in a country ruled solely by the Baath Party since 1963. But the reforms also would enable President Assad to keep much of his power.

China and Russia welcomed the Syrian referendum. The two powers have repeatedly blocked the U.N. Security Council from condemning or punishing Damascus for its deadly crackdown on the opposition revolt.

But U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey said the referendum is "unlikely to be credible" in the context of what he called "pervasive violence and massive human rights violations." He said the end of the Baath Party's monopoly on power "could be part of a political solution" to Syria's unrest, but any vote would have to take place in conditions "free of violence and intimidation."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland dismissed the referendum as "absolutely cynical." She also called the reforms "ridiculous," saying they require any new opposition party to receive government approval, enabling Mr. Assad to "hand pick who gets to be in the opposition and who does not."

Syrian opposition groups say the only acceptable solution to Syria's crisis is for President Assad to step down.

European Union foreign ministers also tightened sanctions on Syria's central bank and froze the assets of several Syrian officials on Monday. The bloc already had blacklisted about 150 other Syrian entities and people.

U.N.-appointed investigators estimate the death toll from the uprising at 6,400 civilians and 1,680 army defectors. Syrian officials have insisted the government is fighting only foreign-backed armed "terrorists."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid