News / Middle East

Arab League, European Nations Push to End Assad's Rule

Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (2008 file photo).
Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (2008 file photo).
TEXT SIZE - +

The Arab League says the withdrawal of monitors from Gulf Arab states will not hinder its work in Syria as France, Britain and Germany joined efforts at the United Nations to end President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

A league official, Adnan al-Khudeir said Wednesday a new group of observers is set to replace the 55 monitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council who left Syria Wednesday after their governments said they were certain "the bloodshed and killing of innocents would continue." He said the 15 Mauritanians, 10 Palestinians and six Egyptians will head to Syria within a week.

About 120 monitors already in Syria pledged to continue the mission, now extended until February 23, to verify Syria's compliance with an earlier Arab peace plan.

Arab League foreign ministers agreed to the latest transition plan Sunday and authorized the regional bloc's chief to seek support for it at the U.N.

Gulf Arab nations have become increasingly supportive of international action against Syria in recent weeks, as pro-Assad forces have continued attacking peaceful protesters and fighting deadly battles with army defectors.

But Russia says it will not support international action on Syria that may include sanctions or military intervention. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday moves by the U.N. Security Council against Syria, a long-time Russian ally, would be "unfair and counterproductive."

Moscow is a veto-wielding member of the Security Council. It joined China last October in vetoing a Western-backed resolution that would have condemned the Syrian government's violent crackdown on the revolt. Lavrov said Russia is open to what he called a "constructive" resolution on Syria that explicitly rules out any interpretation that could justify foreign military action.

Meanwhile, at least 25 UNESCO member states have joined in an attempt to remove Syria from two of the organization's committees that deal with human rights issues. Syria was named to the panels in November by UNESCO's Arab bloc. But now a number of countries - including Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, South Korea and European nations - are mounting a campaign to unseat Damascus.

In the latest violence on the ground, Syrian rights activists say government forces fired heavy weapons at the opposition hub of Hama late Tuesday and Wednesday, killing at least two people in the central Syrian city. They say security forces also killed at least five other civilians in attacks on centers of protest in Homs and Damascus.

Also Wednesday, the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent branch in the northern town of Idlib, Abdulrazak Jbero was shot dead in an attack the country's state news agency (SANA) blamed on "terrorists." An ICRC statement said he was riding in a "vehicle clearly marked with a Red Crescent emblem" and expressed shock at the killing.

The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people. But U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday her agency has stopped compiling a death toll for Syria's deadly crackdown because it is too difficult to get information. Pillay said some areas are totally closed, such as parts of the central city of Homs, "so we are unable to update that figure."

Syrian authorities say terrorists have killed about 2,000 security force members since the unrest began.

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

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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid