News / Middle East

Ban Says Security Council Understands 'Urgency' of Syria Situation

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks during a press conference in Amman, Jordan, his first stop on his Mideast tour, January 31, 2012.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks during a press conference in Amman, Jordan, his first stop on his Mideast tour, January 31, 2012.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the Security Council understands the "urgency" of the situation in Syria, as Arab and Western nations urge the Council to adopt a resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

After a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Wednesday, Ban said that all violence in Syria must stop.

"We cannot wait any longer until political process is finished, while many people are being killed.  While I fully support the political solution of this issue - that is quite advisable.  But first and foremost we have to take necessary action so that we will not lose any more human lives," Ban said.

Russia's European Union envoy said Wednesday he sees "no chance" of the Security Council adopting a resolution on Syria.

Vladimir Chizhov told Russia's Interfax news agency Wednesday that the proposal lacks a key provision ruling out military intervention.  His comments are at odds with those of British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who told the Council Tuesday that the resolution "does not call for military action and could not be used to authorize it."

Under the Moroccan-sponsored Arab-European draft, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would agree to halt the violence against anti-government demonstrators and give up power.  Syria has rejected the plan as a violation of its sovereignty.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Assad of stoking sectarian divisions.  She cited "clear" evidence that government forces "are initiating nearly all the attacks that kill civilians," and warned the country is heading toward civil war.

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani warned the 15-nation body Tuesday that Syria's "killing machine is still at work."

Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari rejected the suggestion his government is responsible for the crisis and he accused the United States and its European allies of wanting to conquer new territory in the Middle East.  

The draft resolution endorses an Arab League plan requiring Assad to transfer power to his first deputy, Farouk al-Sharaa, and allow the creation of a unity government to prepare for elections under international supervision.

Russia has vowed to oppose any Security Council measure that it believes could give Western powers a pretext for military action.  Syria is a long-time Russian military ally that provides Moscow with a naval base on the Mediterranean and frequently buys Russian military supplies.

On the battlefront, activists in eastern districts of Damascus said troops backed by tanks advanced beyond areas vacated by the defector Free Syrian Army, capping three days of fighting that reports said killed at least 100 people.  Government forces have now recaptured most of the places that rebels had seized last week in the capital's eastern suburbs after several days of heavy fighting, mere kilometers from Assad's seat of power.

The Syrian government accuses armed terrorists of driving the anti-Assad revolt and killing 2,000 security personnel.   The United Nations estimated the death toll from the unrest at 5,400, earlier in January, before it stopped updating the figure because of difficulties in obtaining information.

 

Some information for this report was provided by 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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid