News / Middle East

    Rising Death Toll in Syria Prompts Calls for Western Intervention

    Meredith Buel
    WASHINGTON - The United Nations says at least 10,000 Syrians are dead and 1 million are in need of assistance in a conflict that appears to be spiraling towards civil war.  The escalating violence is prompting some to call for Western military intervention, as diplomatic efforts appear to be stalled.

    The violence in Syria continues to escalate and the death toll mounts.

    The Syrian military is now using helicopter gunships and tanks to shell civilian areas, while armed rebels have intensified their attacks on government soldiers.

    Opposition activists say the humanitarian situation worsens while the world only watches.

    “This is an equal if not greater tragedy that continues to expound daily and that does not seem to have the political will of the international community to, at the very least, protect these people,” said Dr. Abdul Majeed Katranji.

    Tens of thousands of refugees are either trapped by the fighting or have fled across the border.

    Now some influential voices are saying more is needed.

    “We should make U.S. airpower available, along with that of our allies, as part of an international effort to defend safe areas in Syria and to prevent Assad’s forces from harassing them as they will inevitably try to do,” said  U.S. Senator John McCain.

    McCain argues the longer the conflict drags on, the more it turns into a sectarian civil war that Syrians alone will not be able to stop.

    “The country is being partitioned.  Waiting will allow for the partitioning to actually take effect.  There will be repercussions that will be felt in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Jordan, in Turkey and perhaps even in Israel as well,” Syrian pro-democracy activist Ammar Abdulhamid said.

    But some analysts caution against military intervention, warning that important questions remain unanswered. “What is going to happen with Syrian chemical and biological weapons?  If push comes to shove would Assad use them?  If he falls do they matriculate to Hezbollah, do they matriculate to al-Qaida?  How do we control those things?,” noted counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman.

    The U.N. has hundreds of observers in Syria, but their mission was temporarily suspended because of security concerns.

    International efforts to halt the violence are deadlocked because Russia and China have blocked tougher action in the U.N. Security Council.

    There were no breakthroughs despite talks at the recent G20 summit.

    “We had a very candid conversation.  I wouldn’t suggest that at this point the United States and the rest of the international community are aligned with Russia and China in their positions. But I do think they recognize the grave dangers of all-out civil war,” said President Obama at the summit

    Russia argues that President Bashar al-Assad still has the support of some of the Syrian people.

    “We believe that no-one has the right to decide for another nation who should be in power and who should step aside," said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The U.S. says it is not supplying weapons to the rebels, but the New York Times newspaper reports a small group of CIA officers is in southern Turkey helping to coordinate arms shipments from other governments.

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: deathlypest from: Germany
    June 22, 2012 2:14 PM
    What will we do if we go out for party happening to encounter with a car accident.There are so many uncertainites in life and potential dangers that we can not eventually get rid of .The perferred things will always be chosen and conducted by people.And from this basis a conclude can be reached that the high level officials in werstern countries and those like Russia who ignited the fire just prefer sitting at home watching Europe Cup to breaking into the war to save other lives at the possible cost of their political prestige.And way you made it and you have to take the resposibility to end it.

    by: Gab
    June 22, 2012 9:36 AM
    While the West is sending billions of dollars in aid to all the biggest humanitarian crisis' in Muslim Countries from Chad to Sudan, from Bangladesh to Pakistan, from Somalia to Afghanistan, the Muslim world is busy building super Mosques all over the Western world. What is the statistical possibility that this trend might reverse itself someday?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.