News / Middle East

UN to Assad: Stop Military Force Against Civilians Now

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to immediately stop using military force against civilians taking part in a four-month-old anti-government uprising.

The U.N. press office says Mr. Ban conveyed the message in a rare telephone call with the Syrian president on Saturday. It says the U.N. Secretary-General also expressed "strong concern" at the mounting violence and death toll in the Syrian uprising in recent days.

The U.N. statement says Mr. Assad made a reference in the conversation to a "large number of lives lost" among Syrian security forces and police trying to crush the revolt. It says Mr. Ban responded by condemning violence against both civilians and security forces in Syria.

Mr. Ban's office says he also told Mr. Assad that political reforms promised by the president can become credible only if there is an immediate end to the use of force and mass arrests against opposition activists. Syria had no immediate comment on the phone conversation.

In the latest government gesture to the protesters, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Saturday authorities will hold free parliamentary elections by the end of this year. Opposition activists have dismissed such gestures in the past.

The United States says Mr. Assad's security forces have killed about 2,000 people since the uprising began in March.

Other international leaders and governments also increased pressure on Mr. Assad to stop the crackdown.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government has reached "the end of our patience" with Syria, Turkey's southern neighbor. He said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will visit Syria on Tuesday to deliver that message in firm manner. Ankara had close ties with Damascus in the years before the revolt began.

In another warning to Syria, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a German newspaper that he does not believe Mr. Assad has a political future that the Syrian people will support.

Gulf Arab states also broke their silence about the uprising. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council issued a statement calling for an immediate end to the violence and for the implementation of reforms. The bloc includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid