News / Middle East

US: UN Must Stop Syria's Vicious Crackdown

Syrian army defectors secure an anti-Syrian regime protest in the Deir Baghlaba area of Homs province, Jan. 27, 2012.
Syrian army defectors secure an anti-Syrian regime protest in the Deir Baghlaba area of Homs province, Jan. 27, 2012.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday the United Nations must act to end what she calls the Syrian government's "violent and brutal attacks on its own people." Russia opposes U.N. action and says the government in Damascus has agreed to talks in Moscow.

In a written statement, Clinton said the U.N. Security Council must “make clear to the Syrian regime that the world community views its actions as a threat to peace and security.”

Clinton heads to the United Nations on Tuesday to back an Arab League resolution against President Bashar al-Assad because, she said, the longer his government “stands in the way of a peaceful transition, the greater the concern that instability will escalate and spill over throughout the region.”

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Secretary Clinton is going to the United Nations for what she said will be “a very strong opening conversation” on the Syria resolution, where she will be joined by her French and British counterparts.

"She is going to send a very clear message that we support the Syrian people. We stand with you. We stand with you in your hope and aspiration for a better, more democratic future. And first and foremost that the violence is going to end,” said Nuland.

Syrian opposition activists say government troops have retaken control of several Damascus suburbs in heavy fighting with rebels engaged in a 10-month long uprising against President Assad.

Nuland said the withdrawal of Arab League monitors - who the government prevented from fully carrying out their mandate - has opened the way for more killing.

"We are gravely concerned that as these Arab League monitors have pulled out, [and] the Syrian regime has taken this as an excuse to just let loose in horrific ways against innocents,” said Nuland.

Russia and China oppose U.N. action on Syria, with Russia calling for national dialogue to end the political crisis. Russia's foreign ministry on Monday said Damascus has agreed to send a delegation to Moscow for talks with opposition activists.

A foreign ministry statement says Russia hopes that opposition representatives also will agree to attend. Senior members of the opposition Syrian National Council reject the idea.

Analyst Marou Innocent of the Washington-based Cato Institute research group said Russia's call for talks in Moscow is meant to weaken momentum for U.N. action.

“This is sort of a way for Russia to have a stake in the game, but also sort of hedge against a lot of the criticism and backlash it has been having from the West,” said Innocent.

Middle East expert Steve Heydemann of the United States Institute of Peace said there is deep concern in Moscow that the fall of the Damascus government would weaken Russia's standing in the region.

“If the regime were to change and Syria were to move in a more pro-Western direction, I think the Russians would view that as a blow to their strategic posture in the region. And so one of the things that the U.S. might do is offer reassurances to the Russians that even if a process of regime transition happens in Syria, they won't be left out,” said Heydemann.

Asked about Russia's plans for Syrian talks in Moscow, State Department Spokeswoman Nuland said the first priority must be an end to fighting.

"Again, there have been plenty of talks outside Syria over the last few months. It is very difficult to see how you address the real dangers and the real concerns unless and until the violence comes to an end,” said Nuland.

Facing the threat of a Russian veto over U.N. action on Syria, a senior U.S. diplomat said it is time for the Russians to decide whether “they are going to continue to give cover to this kind of action,” which the United Nations estimates has killed more than 5,000 people.

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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid