News

    Syria Fighting Continues as UN Moves to Send Peacekeepers

    Fierce clashes between government troops and rebel forces in Syria continued Tuesday as the United Nations moved to send a team to Damascus to discuss the deployment of peace monitors in the country.

    Syrian activists and rights groups say shelling erupted in several areas, including Homs.  In Idlib province, heavy fighting took place on the outskirts of the town of Taftanaz.  Several deaths were reported nationwide.

    Ahmad Fawzi, a spokesman for U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, announced Tuesday that an advance U.N. team is due to arrive in Syria within 48 hours.  He told VOA the team would work out the details of deploying international monitors to the country.

    An injured man gets treated in a Damascus neighborhood, Syria, Tuesday, April 3, 2012.
    An injured man gets treated in a Damascus neighborhood, Syria, Tuesday, April 3, 2012.
    Meanwhile, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, is in Damascus in a bid to arrange a two-hour humanitarian cease-fire in areas where fighting continues.  An ICRC spokesman, Saleh Dabbakeh, said the organization has made progress recently in reaching victims of fighting and refugees that have become displaced inside Syria.

    Syrian state-run media said Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem pledged cooperation with the relief group.

    The diplomatic efforts came a day after Mr. Annan said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to begin pulling his forces out of opposition protest hubs and complete the pullout by April 10.

    Watch related video of violence in Syria

    Middle East Institute scholar Wayne White told VOA a possible peacekeeping deployment and promises of a cease-fire from the Syrian leader are not necessarily indications that government's crackdown on dissent is ending. "What we could see is deployment of observers and, as with the case of the Arab League observers, the observers leaving with dismay because their presence was not apparently meaning anything, especially to the Syrian government," he said.

    White also said he does not expect Assad to change his stance against the opposition. "Unfortunately, this is going to be a fight to the finish.  I think that Assad will not leave office unless he is driven from office and he will not stop hammering the opposition until the opposition gives up, if it ever does.  It is to some degree a slugging match," he said.

    The cease-fire proposal is part of a peace plan drafted by Mr. Annan last month and later endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.  The U.N. says more than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began 13 months ago.

    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.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Daniel J Philbin
    April 05, 2012 6:52 PM
    Do we want peace with and from Assad? Or do we want regime change? Can the UN support a regime change within its peacekeeping mandate?

    by: michael
    April 04, 2012 4:39 AM
    Since al-Assad had agreed on moving forces, it shows that access has been achieved to the inner circle, so those diplomatic efforts mentioned have and are doing a praiseworthy job

    by: OSAMA-OBAMA
    April 03, 2012 6:33 AM
    Has Gadhafi troop killed above 1,000 people before NATO intervention???Has civilians of Syria are different from Libyan people????(UN OR ICC OR G8,16,20) Gadhafi is this/that but Libya is No.1 valuable currency in Africa.

    by: NVO
    April 03, 2012 5:24 AM
    The UN: hand in hand with the Bilderbergs, The Trilateral Commission, The Club of Rome, The Council On Foreing Relations, ALL pushing for a One World Government under The New World Order. Don't be deceived!

    by: Joseph Zrnchik
    April 03, 2012 4:55 AM
    If arming rebels is dissent, I wish we had more dissent in the US. Arming rebels used to mean interfering is someone else's civil war. In the US, Lincoln slaughtered and destroyed his way to victory and is hailed as one of the greatest presidents. He had Sherman burn town after town to the ground.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora