News / Middle East

UN Chief Demands Unimpeded Access to Besieged Syrian City

This video image taken from amateur video and broadcast by Bambuser/Homslive shows a series of devastating explosions rocking the central Syrian city of Homs, Syria, Monday, June 11, 2012.This video image taken from amateur video and broadcast by Bambuser/Homslive shows a series of devastating explosions rocking the central Syrian city of Homs, Syria, Monday, June 11, 2012.
x
This video image taken from amateur video and broadcast by Bambuser/Homslive shows a series of devastating explosions rocking the central Syrian city of Homs, Syria, Monday, June 11, 2012.
This video image taken from amateur video and broadcast by Bambuser/Homslive shows a series of devastating explosions rocking the central Syrian city of Homs, Syria, Monday, June 11, 2012.
VOA News
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is demanding Syrian authorities grant  the U.N. "unimpeded access" to the besieged city of Haffeh, where civilians are said to be trapped.

U.N. monitors report Syrian forces are using helicopters to attack the rebel-held city and that civilians are caught in the crossfire.

Mr. Ban's office said Monday that he expressed deep concern over the "dangerous intensification" of the fighting in Syria over the past few days, and called for the bloodshed and fighting to stop at once.

U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan says he is "gravely concerned" about the violence in  Haffeh and Homs where rebels have been attacked by artillery, helicopters, tanks and mortars. Monday was the first time the U.N. said it could verify activists' reports that Syrian military helicopters were attacking the rebels.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said officials are deeply alarmed about reports from inside Syria that the government may be planning another massacre of civilians in at least six places.

"Syrian forces have already escalated their oppression in direct defiance of their commitments to the Annan plan by using now new, horrific tactics, including the firing on civilians from the air by helicopters. Added to the use of irregular forces, the shabiha, this constitutes a very serious escalation," she said.

Violence across the country Monday claimed more than 60 lives, according to activists' reports, but it has been impossible to confirm the toll independently. There are reports of an aerial assault by government forces targeting the strategic river city of Rastan, which has resisted government offensives for months.

Rami Abdul-Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces began increasingly relying on helicopter attacks after government troops suffered major losses in recent battles.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Susan Patterson
June 12, 2012 9:35 PM
Either the U.N. is naive or just plain stupid. The Assad dictatorship is in the middle of wholesale genocide of the Sunni community of Syria. Asking Assad to be transparent during this time is like asking Hitler to close the Concentration camps in 1944. It is not going to happen. Assad will not stop his murdering spree until every Sunni in Syria is exterminated. It is as simple as that. Either the Western Nations invade Syria and stop the killing or watch the Syrian Sunni community join the Passenger Pigeon, the Wooly Mammoth and the Dodo Bird as extinct species in the world.

by: george pavlakis from: las vegas
June 12, 2012 8:55 PM
Where the hell was the UN the time the US forces killed hundred of thousands civilians in IRAQ??
Where the HELL the UN was and IS the time the PROUD US forces kill the women and Children in PAKISTAN every day ??.
Where the HELL the UN are the time the US forces kill thousand people in Afghanistan??

by: Mr. Blow from: Washington
June 12, 2012 9:13 AM
Dr. Observer & Citizen of the World - Saudi & Qatar are financing the opposition, not Israel or the U.S. The Syrian people are fighting for freedom. China is trying to bully other countries over their islands and should accept that they are no better. "Citizen" is just a drooling weirdo.

by: John from: Lagos
June 12, 2012 6:13 AM
NATO never granted the UN unimpeded access to Libyan cities until the job was finished. Please Ban Ki Moon or Sun, allow the Syrian government to finish the job before you go in to do clean up.

by: buck mast from: Tennessee
June 12, 2012 12:11 AM
I am sure because the infamous U.N. demands anything that Syria is really worried

by: Ron from: Florida
June 12, 2012 12:05 AM
I feel that this is a time when you take action and ask questions later, if not too late. These folks are like you and me but we are not under fire...I say get on in there guys

by: DrObserver from: China
June 11, 2012 11:10 PM
Civil wars are still wars . . extreme politics [the business of controlling resources and privilege] . . . so why are certain governments vilified and others given a "free pass" [as the Shah of Iran, Suharto and Sukarno in Indonesia, etc.]? Just politics . . . propaganda by those who want what others have. How about we compare the atrocities by Americans ON Americans?? ahhhhh yes . . . that is different . . . like torture, chemical warfare, plastic fragmentation bombs in Haiphong.

by: DSA from: San Diego, CA
June 11, 2012 10:53 PM
The U.N. is USELESS!!!!

by: Citizen of the World from: Everywhere Man
June 11, 2012 10:39 PM
Lets have the USG and the media answer the first question. Arab Spring? Is there really an Arab Spring people movement? The Plot to Overthrow by mohammad goldstein bluntly tells the world who a Jew IS and what a Muslim really IS; Obama has a copy, get it for nuttin on the net it will blow your political mind about Americas role and is laced with “inside” truth about Washington,

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs