News

    Syria Violence Continues Despite Truce, UN Observers

    Smoke billows following the purported shelling in Khaldiyeh district, Homs, Syria, April 18, 2012. (AP cannot independently verify the content, date, location or authenticity of this material.)
    Smoke billows following the purported shelling in Khaldiyeh district, Homs, Syria, April 18, 2012. (AP cannot independently verify the content, date, location or authenticity of this material.)

    Syria's nearly week-old cease-fire continued to deteriorate Wednesday as a bombing killed six Syrian law enforcement officers and government forces continued to shell and attack a number of towns and cities across the country.

    The violence continued despite the presence of a U.N. observer team.

    Witnesses say Syrian government security forces opened fire on a crowd of protesters in a Damascus suburb Wednesday, after a team of U.N. observers left the area following a brief visit. It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

    Syrian artillery also pounded an area of Homs Wednesday, despite a cease-fire that went into effect last Thursday. Several opposition districts have come under sporadic and at times heavy shelling each day since the truce started.

    The state-run SANA news agency says an "armed terrorist group" detonated an explosive device planted on a road in the northern Idlib province. It also says a sniper killed a police officer in the southern city of Daraa.

    The Syrian government has said it has the right to respond to attacks from what it calls "terrorists."

    Reported deaths in violence across Syria

    Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himiche, who heads the U.N. team, said its mission is proceeding despite the violence. He said the U.N. team's job is to act as a go-between with Syrian officials and other parties in a technical mission of monitoring.

    In a meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing Wednesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that Damascus was ready to allow the U.N. to boost the strength of its mission. He said that most observers will be deployed to areas that Syria considers to be hot spots and he agrees that it would be logical to increase the size of the U.N. team to 250 members.

    View the timeline

    Loading...



    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that the U.N. mission in Syria will need helicopters to help it move around the country, urging member states to help. Moallem said that the Syrian air force was ready to help the team if the need arose.

    Timor Goksel, a former spokesman of the U.N.'s UNIFIL mission in Lebanon, told VOA that he thinks the U.N. observer team will make a difference in Syria, since it can draw on the expertise and assets of two U.N. missions already present along the Golan Heights.

    "There is a significant U.N. presence in [Syria] since 1974. [So], these new observers are not coming blind to the situation. They will have good advice from the U.N. people in the country," he said.

    Goksel adds that the observers are not going to be relying on the Syrians for their communications needs or for any kind of logistical support.

    Goksel says he doesn't think the U.N. mission is going to solve the problem in Syria, but that he believes it may "manage the conflict somewhat, reducing tensions and reducing the bloodshed."

    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: Hassan
    April 19, 2012 9:08 AM
    The only consistency that exists in Syria is that the world can depend on is Assad telling lies and Assad killing innocent Syrian civilians.

    by: Aliyari
    April 18, 2012 9:13 PM
    do not try to do foolish things
    otherwise Russia and China destroy the entire world.
    Taliban defeated the US and its allies Russia and China
    ohhhh

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 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 Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    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 Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    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.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.