News / Middle East

Syrian Troops Shell Homs After UN Condemnation

Smoke billows in Homs after the city is shelled by what activists say were Syrian troops, February 17, 2012.
Smoke billows in Homs after the city is shelled by what activists say were Syrian troops, February 17, 2012.

Activists say Syrian troops are shelling rebel-held areas in the central city of Homs, just one day after the United Nations General Assembly condemned the regime for violating human rights in its crackdown.

The activists said tank fire and artillery shelling Friday hit four neighborhoods in the central city, which has spearheaded the 11-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. They also say demonstrations in defiance of Assad's government have sprung up in several cities throughout the country, including the capital, Damascus.

The shelling came even as     China's vice foreign minister, Zhai Jun, arrived in Damascus for talks with Syrian officials on resolving the conflict. The Chinese embassy in Damascus said Zhai was scheduled to meet with his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad.

In Washington Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton are "once again condemning in the strongest possible terms the ongoing violence against the Syrian people perpetrated by the Assad regime."

On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused the Assad government of "almost certain" crimes against humanity.  

The U.N. General Assembly also passed a resolution, approved by 137 of the assembly's 193 member states, calling on Assad's autocratic government to "immediately put an end to attacks against civilians."

Frustrated by the lack of U.N. Security Council action, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who met his French counterpart in Paris for talks on Friday, said Britain and France both support the creation of the "Friends of Syria," an international coalition that world leaders are expected to discuss next week at a conference in Tunisia.

"What is happening in Syria is appalling, you have a government that is butchering and murdering its own people, and it is horrific what is taking place and that's why it's so important that the world comes together and the world acts as decisively as it can," said Cameron.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, meanwhile, sent a strong message to Syrian opposition groups to unite so that the outside world can better support them in overthrowing the Syrian government.

"We cannot bring about a Syrian revolution without the Syrian people and I am sure you understand what I mean by this. We cannot bring this about if the Syrian opposition doesn't unite and organize to help us to help them. We will not accept that a dictator is allowed to massacre its own people, but the revolution cannot come from the outside, it must be born from within," said Sarkozy.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, but reflect world opinion on major issues.  Eleven nations joined Syria in voting against the resolution, most notably Russia and China, which vetoed a similar measure in the U.N. Security Council earlier this month.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, said the assembly sent a clear message to the Syrian people that "the world is with you" and Assad "has never been more isolated."  

Syria's ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Jaafari, accused the resolution's Arab co-sponsors of colluding with "terrorists" to undermine the Syrian government.  

Rights groups say Assad's crackdown on dissent has killed more than 6,000 people since last March. There was no way to verify the latest casualty figures independently because Syria tightly restricts foreign media.

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.

You May Like

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. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
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 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 Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid