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.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora