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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora