News / Middle East

At Least 30 Reported Killed in New Syrian Violence

Image from amateur video made available by Shaam News Network Jan. 16, 2012, purports to show Syrian security forces in Hama, Syria. AP CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL.
Image from amateur video made available by Shaam News Network Jan. 16, 2012, purports to show Syrian security forces in Hama, Syria. AP CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL.

Violence has surged in Syria as Western members of the United Nations Security Council spar with Russia over how to stop the bloodshed from the 10-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian-based activist group Local Coordination Committees said Mr. Assad's security forces on Tuesday killed at least 30 people, 19 of them in the troubled central province of Homs. The group said eight civilians died when a minibus struck a roadside bomb planted by pro-government soldiers in northern Idlib province.

France, Britain and the U.S. are pushing for strong condemnation of Syria. Western diplomats say they cannot accept Russia's draft Security Council resolution that assigns equal blame for the violence to the government and opposition. Senior diplomats from the U.N. body were to meet Tuesday to discuss the revised Russian draft.

U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday condemned Syria's continued crackdown on protesters, calling the violence "unacceptable" and vowing to redouble international efforts to force Mr. Assad to step down.

Earlier, Syria rejected a Qatari proposal to send Arab troops to the country to stop the unrest, saying such a move would worsen the situation and open the door to foreign interference. The Syrian foreign ministry said Damascus will oppose any attempt to undermine its sovereignty and wants Arab nations to stop what it called a media campaign against Syria.

Last week, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani proposed deploying Arab troops in Syria, saying the move is needed to "stop the killing." He is the first Arab leader to put forth that idea. The Arab League is due to discuss the crisis in Syria on Saturday and Sunday, and is expected to discuss the future of its widely criticized observer mission in the country.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Tuesday Moscow will not support sending Arab peacekeepers to Syria. In an interview with the BBC, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaliy Churkin called the Qatari proposal a "distraction" and an "irritant."

The developments came a day after the rebel Free Syrian Army called on the U.N. to invoke Chapter 7 from its charter to take military action against Syria to end the killing of civilians. Chapter 7 allows U.N. forces to initiate force under certain conditions, not simply to act in self-defense.

Western powers have been pushing the Security Council to condemn the Syrian government for its violent suppression of the uprising and to impose sanctions on Damascus. Russia and China have blocked such measures.

Syria is Moscow's chief ally in the region and one of its biggest arms customers. A Russian-operated ship carrying ammunition allegedly docked in Syria last week. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said an arms embargo against Damascus is "overdue."

"Obviously we’d have very grave concern about arms flows into Syria from any source and we would certainly make that point very directly with any country that may be providing such arms," said Rice. "Unfortunately, there is not an arms embargo against Syria, which we certainly think is overdue, in part because as you well know, some members of the Council, including Russia, have indicated opposition to any form of sanction, even those that mirror that [which] the Arab League has already implemented."

Senior U.S. officials say Iran also is supplying weapons to aid Syria's crackdown in an initiative spearheaded by the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds force. The officials cited Quds chief Ghassem Soleimani's recent visit to Damascus as a concrete example of direct, high-level cooperation between Iran and Syria.

The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people, including 400 in the last three weeks. Syria says "terrorists" have killed about 2,000 members of the security forces since the unrest began.

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

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs