News / Middle East

Annan: Syria Crisis Must Not Spiral Out Of Control

Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan (R) gestures next to Major-General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria during a news conference at the UN European headquarters in Geneva, June 22, 201Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan (R) gestures next to Major-General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria during a news conference at the UN European headquarters in Geneva, June 22, 201
x
Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan (R) gestures next to Major-General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria during a news conference at the UN European headquarters in Geneva, June 22, 201
Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan (R) gestures next to Major-General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria during a news conference at the UN European headquarters in Geneva, June 22, 201
Lisa Schlein
GENEVA - Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, says he hopes it will be possible to convene a high-level meeting of ministers at the end of the month to try to push the Syrian peace process forward.  Annan says there is no time to waste, action must be taken to stop the Syrian crisis from spiraling out of control.  He has even suggested Iran be part of the peace process.

Annan acknowledges the peace plan is not working, that violence in Syria is escalating and so is the suffering of the civilian population, especially children and women.

He says the only chance for forging peace in that country is to have the united and sustained support of the international community.  He says it is time for countries of influence to raise the pressure on the parties to stop the killing and start the talking.  

He added that Iran should be "part of the solution" for bringing peace to Syria.  Russia has pushed for Iran's involvement in resolving the conflict, while the U.S. has said Iran should not be involved.

He says the peace process cannot go on indefinitely.  It cannot be open-ended.  He says it is urgent that consultations yield real results before it is too late to stop the crisis from spiraling out of control.

Annan agrees it is hard to know when a situation is likely to spiral out of control.  But, he adds, if violence continues to escalate, there will come a moment when it will become clear to everyone that the situation is not sustainable and is beyond control.

“And, we do not want to get there.  And, this is why we are trying to press and push to see if we can get the parties to take steps to end the violence before we get to that stage.  I do not think we are there yet.  But, we may not be far from there.  And, my own wish is to appeal to the fighters to really put down their guns for the sake of the Syrian people,” Annan said.  

The United Nations reports the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.  It estimates up to 1.5 million civilians within the country are in need of assistance.  In addition, there are 92,000 registered refugees in neighboring countries.  

One week ago, the Head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria temporarily suspended the observer mission due to the escalation of violence.   General Robert Mood says the observers are mainly in team sites and headquarters. He says they are performing normal administrative activities until the risks diminish and they can resume their monitoring activities.  

He says the level of destruction in the country is enormous and the humanitarian needs are huge.  He says the continued military occupation of hospitals, health facilities and schools is preventing people from getting medical care.  He says civilians are trapped in combat zones.

He says he is very concerned about the way in which the situation in Syria is evolving.

“If I am frank, I would say that I think there are a lot of stakeholders trying to buy time related to the crisis in Syria and coming from me, I am now relating it to the ground inside because I have yet to hear from anyone a clear strategic operational vision of how they want to go forward, whether in one direction or in the other.  So, I think many see themselves served with more time,” Mood said.  

Though he too is disconcerted by events on the ground, Kofi Annan says people must not lose hope.  He says there is no other alternative.  He says the international community cannot just step back and do nothing.  He says things can change at any time and plans for peace that now are not being implemented, can suddenly shift for the better.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More