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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs