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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora