News / Middle East

UN's Ban Urges Security Council to Act 'Seriously' on Syria Crisis

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening session of the World Future Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 16, 2012.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening session of the World Future Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 16, 2012.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging the Security Council to take "serious" action against Syria, where he says casualties from a 10-month opposition uprising have reached "unacceptable" levels.

Speaking Monday on a visit to Abu Dhabi, Mr. Ban appealed to the Council to act in a "coherent" manner in resolving the Syrian crisis.  Western powers have been pushing the body for months to condemn the Syrian government's violent suppression of the uprising, but Russia and China have blocked such action.

Russia is a military ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and insists that any Council action should target not just the Assad government but the opposition movement demanding an end to his 11-year autocratic rule.

Western diplomats said a revised Russian draft resolution on the violence in Syria that was sent to the Security Council Monday is confusing and does not make clear whether Moscow would accept tough language demanded by the West.  Experts from the 15 Council members will meet Tuesday to discuss the new draft, Russia's third in the past month.

Also Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister M.L. Bogdanov met his U.S. counterpart, William Burns, in Moscow.  Russia's Foreign Ministry says Bogdanov stressed that other nations should respect Syria's sovereignty and help its people peacefully settle their own crisis.

Mr. Ban praised the Arab League for holding a dialogue with Mr. Assad and sending observers to Syria last month.  U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey told VOA Monday that a small group of U.N. rights experts will travel to Cairo to train the Arab League observers this week, at the request of the regional bloc.

Syrian opposition activists have criticized the observer mission, saying the Syrian government is deceiving it and using the monitors as a cover to intensify security operations against the opposition.

A Syrian parliament member representing the central city of Homs defected to the opposition late Sunday, making the announcement from Cairo in an interview with the Al-Arabiya television network. Imad Ghalioun said Homs, a hub of the uprising, is in a state of "disaster" and its people have suffered major rights violations at the hands of pro-Assad forces.

In another sign of growing domestic pressure on Mr. Assad, the prominent Syrian opposition group the Syrian National Council says it has reached an agreement to boost coordination with Syrian army defectors known as the Free Syrian Army.  In a statement Monday, the SNC says it will cooperate with the Syrian rebels on issues such as accommodating new defectors within the rebel army.

The Syrian government blames the uprising on armed terrorists.  Syrian state-run news agency SANA says terrorists shot and killed a Syrian brigadier general as he was driving to work Monday. SANA also says five security personnel were buried Monday after being killed in fighting with rebels in the Damascus countryside and the northeastern region of Deir el-Zour.

The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,000 people.  Syria says "terrorists" have killed about 2,000 members of the security forces since the unrest began.

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

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs