News / Middle East

Syria Says Ready to Evacuate Civilians From Bombarded Homs

This image made from amateur video purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria. Syrian forces renewed shelling of the central city of Homs on Monday, one day after the head of the U.N. observers' mission demanded that warring parties allow
This image made from amateur video purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria. Syrian forces renewed shelling of the central city of Homs on Monday, one day after the head of the U.N. observers' mission demanded that warring parties allow
VOA News
Syria says it is ready to act on a U.N. appeal to evacuate civilians from the rebellious central city of Homs, which government forces have bombarded since early June to try to crush a 15-month anti-government uprising.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it has contacted U.N. observers in the country and local authorities to try to arrange an evacuation from Homs, where opposition activists estimate 1,000 families have been trapped. But, the government said the observers' efforts failed due to obstruction from armed terrorist groups - its term for rebels leading the revolt. The Syrian statement also accused rebels of using Homs civilians as "human shields."

U.N. observer chief Robert Mood has appealed to Syrian government and rebel forces to allow women, children and the wounded to flee Homs and other combat zones. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said dozens of wounded people are stuck in Homs and other rebel-dominated areas without medicine or doctors.

Mood, a Norwegian general, was due to appear at the U.N. Security Council in New York later Tuesday to brief members about the status of his 300-strong observer team, whose work he suspended on Saturday due to Syria's escalating violence.

British Ambassador to the United Nations Lyall Grant said Monday that many Council members will ask General Mood for his view of the mission's prospects for achieving its mandate in light of the conflict. In recent weeks, the unarmed observers have been caught up in several shooting and bombing incidents that damaged U.N. vehicles but caused no injuries to U.N. personnel.
  • This image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
  • Fire burns after shelling at the Al Qussoor area in Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
  • This image made from amateur video purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria. Syrian forces renewed shelling of the central city of Homs on Monday, one day after the head of the U.N. observers' mission demanded that warring parties allow
  • Residents flee their homes after shelling in Houla near Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
  • Residents gather during the funeral of Hussein Omish, whom protesters say was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Jubar outside Damascus, Syria, June 18, 2012.
  • Demonstrators hold opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Kfr Suseh, Damascus, Syria. June 18, 2012

The U.N. Security Council agreed to send the mission to Syria in April to monitor government and rebel compliance with a U.N.-backed cease-fire agreement, but the truce never took hold. The observers' 90-day mandate expires on July 20. Grant said he does not rule out ending the mission before then.

Syrian rights activists said fighting across the country killed at least 79 people Monday, most of them civilians. The casualties could not be independently confirmed.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement Monday calling for an "immediate cessation of all violence" in Syria. The two leaders met on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Mexico. The statement also said Washington and Moscow are "united" in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to "democratically choose their own future."

But, Obama and Putin did not announce any new initiatives to resolve the Syrian conflict, which has been a source of sharp disagreement between the two powers.
 
Russia is a longtime ally of Syria and has shielded President Bashar al-Assad from U.N. sanctions sought by Western and Arab powers who oppose his 11-year autocratic rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
June 19, 2012 12:03 PM
Just remember one thing Bashar, atrocities are never forgotten, and history is never "Changed" it's in the past and proven. You will not be forgotten as a man who inflicted atrocities on his very own people. You will go down in history as a cruel, ruthless, evil person, who hides the fact. It will all catch up to you sooner or later. Just imagine if your family was put through what you and your forces have done to civillians. It's one thing to have a war with an army vs army, but it is another thing to inflict harm on your own civillians, it shows you as a coward. Hopefully sooner or later the worlds criminal court will catch up to you, and you will have the same fate as every other evil dictator. Every person in the last 15 years that inflicted atrocities has been fully held accountable except for those who haven't been apprehended, just remember that. That goes for the men under your belt also.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

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