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

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs