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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.