News

Syrian Army Pounds Homs

Shops and homes are seen after they were destroyed by Syrian government shelling in Rastan town in Homs province, central Syria, March 20, 2012.
Shops and homes are seen after they were destroyed by Syrian government shelling in Rastan town in Homs province, central Syria, March 20, 2012.

Activists say Syrian forces resumed heavy shelling of the already battered city of Homs on Saturday, as international envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Russia to discuss efforts to mediate an end to the crisis in Syria.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least three people were killed in the Khaldiyeh district of Homs and nearby town of Qusair following shelling that began early Saturday.  Homs has seen some of the heaviest fighting in Syria's year-long uprising.

Clashes were also reported in Idlib province bordering Turkey, where the rights group says at least one person was killed.

Syria Peace Plan

The U.N. Security Council approved U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria Kofi Annan's proposed peace plan that includes:

  • An immediate cease-fire and an end to all human rights violations
  • A two-hour per day halt in fighting for humanitarian aid delivery
  • Inclusive Syrian-led political talks to address "legitimate aspirations and concerns" of the Syrian people

Saturday's violence comes as joint U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Moscow in an effort to convince Russia to support international calls for a cease-fire and open political dialogue in Syria.  Russia and China have repeatedly blocked Security Council action against Syria since the deadly crackdowns on protests erupted. However, the two nations did support a Security Council resolution in recent days endorsing Annan's six-point plan for peace.

Annan will meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday, and will then travel to Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with Chinese officials for similar discussions.

On Friday, the European Union imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's British-born wife and several other members of his family and administration.

The sanctions on Mrs. Assad came after leaked emails showed she allegedly went on lavish shopping sprees while Syria descended into violence. British officials say the EU travel ban can not stop the Syrian first lady from traveling to Britain if she has retained her citizenship.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva sharply condemned Syria's "escalating violence", calling for an extension of a probe into the Syrian government's alleged abuses in the year of unrest.  The 47-member body voted 41 to three in favor of an EU-sponsored resolution backed by the United States and Arab countries. China, Russia and Cuba voted against the measure.

In Washington, the Obama administration said it will allow Syrians in the country to remain, even after their visas have expired, and not deport those who are in the U.S. illegally.

Reported deaths in violence across Syria

The United Nations says at least 8,000 people have been killed in the Assad government's violent crackdown on the revolt, which began with peaceful protests and became increasingly militarized as army defectors attacked pro-Assad troops who assaulted civilians.

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

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.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ADEL ALSHEAR
March 25, 2012 7:11 AM
THIS IS HAVE SHALL DO TO DO WITH GROUP ALAKHWAN ALMSLMWN . THIS IS THE HAVE SHALL DO TO DO WITH HSN ALBNA . THIS IS HAVE SHALL DO TO DO WITH GROUP BROTHE RHOOD GROUP HSN ALBNA .

by: C Ritchie
March 24, 2012 11:48 PM
Assad is a monster. So was Saddam Hussein. And Gaddafi, The world is becoming increasingly intolerant of these vicious, selfish regimes. May their dreadful leaders all suffer a similar fate. No one, apart from their rabid supporters, wants this type of person to have power.

by: Jacki
March 24, 2012 11:26 PM
The Assad family are more trusted that the mob trying to overthrow him. They are a bunch of extremists, whom the majority of Syrians do NOT support. Syrians living in Syria actually support President Assad, and the fact remains that the "New Syrian Army" has very little backing with syrians, as syrians know they are EXtremists

by: jah son
March 24, 2012 6:47 AM
there will always be voilence in the middle east untill all women are free and all arab/moslem countries adapt a democracy instead of one man autrocratic rule, stop allowing the rulers to have all the wealth and give it to their sons and daughters and have large harems and lusch villas while the people around them starve and bowdown to worship muhamid um-teen times a day like robots.

by: Arash Wafa
March 24, 2012 6:06 AM
I appreciate the government of Syria to attack Rebel
because these Rebels are a pillars to USA

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs