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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs