News / Middle East

UN Chief 'Firmly Condemns' Syria Violence Escalation

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VOA News
December 17, 2012 4:06 PM
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VOA News
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the escalation of violence in Syria, saying reports of government warplanes bombing a Palestinian refugee camp are of "grave concern."

Opposition activists said the bombing Sunday on the Yarmouk camp killed at least eight people, and that the air strike was the first of its kind on the camp since President Bashar al-Assad began suppressing a popular uprising in March 2011.

Ban said in a statement late Sunday that bombing raids by fixed-wing military aircraft and attack helicopters against populated areas "have been amply documented."  He expressed particular condemnation for attacks against civilians and the shelling of population centers.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Yarmouk raid was one of six government air strikes on southern areas of Damascus on Sunday. Rebels have been trying to advance from those areas into central Damascus, the seat of Assad's power.

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of his colleague Abdullah during his funeral in Aleppo, Syria, December 21.2012.
  • A boy holds pita bread as others stand in line outside a bakery in Aleppo, Syria, December 21, 2012.
  • A damaged tank is seen at the Free Syrian Army controlled infantry college near Aleppo, Syria, December 21, 2012.
  • Syrian refugees,who fled their home in Idlib due to a government airstrike, load their belongings into a vehicle after crossing into Cilvegozu, Turkey, December 20, 2012.
  • A Syrian refugee crosses illegally to Turkey on the border fence, Cilvegozu, Turkey, December 20, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter, whose comrades are surrounding a military airport, reads the Quran, Aleppo, Syria, December 20, 2012.
  • People near a damaged building after it was attacked by a Syrian Army jet in Azaz, Syria, December 16, 2012.
  • Damaged buildings are seen in Al-Khalidiya neighborhood of Homs, Syria, December 16, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he walks along a damaged street in Aleppo's Khan al-Wazeer district, Syria, December 16, 2012.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters pose with a tank after capturing the Military Infantry School following heavy clashes, Aleppo, Syria, December 16, 2012.

Meanwhile, a Lebanese newspaper quoted Syria's vice president as saying neither the rebels nor the government can win the conflict militarily. In a report Sunday, Al-Akhbar said Farouk al-Sharaa made the rare public comment in an interview with the pro-Syrian newspaper. There was no immediate response to the report from the Syrian government.

If confirmed, Sharaa's comment would represent a departure from the Syrian government's stated determination to defeat what it sees as foreign-backed terrorists trying to end Assad's 12-year rule.

The paper quoted the vice president as saying the government is "not in a battle for the survival of an individual or a regime."

In another quote, Sharaa purportedly said a solution to the conflict must involve "regional countries" and members of the U.N. Security Council, the stopping of all violence, and the creation of a "national unity government with wide powers."

Elsewhere, an Islamist rebel faction claimed to have seized an army academy near the northern city of Aleppo after days of fighting with government troops. The Tawheed brigade posted a video on its website Sunday, showing fighters walking around the base, while exchanges of fire could be heard in the background.

The army academy appears to be the latest Syrian military installation to fall to the rebels this month around Aleppo, Syria's commercial capital.

At the Yarmouk camp, the Observatory said fighting erupted after the air strike, with Syrian rebels and their Palestinian allies battling a Palestinian faction loyal to Assad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). Syria is home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendents, whose loyalties have been divided by the Syrian civil war.

The government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to the international community to take action to stop attacks on Palestinians in Syria.

There was no independent confirmation of the casualties at Yarmouk or the fighting at the military academy because Syria bars independent journalists from reporting freely.

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Comment Sorting
by: Dr. Malek Towghi (Baluch) from: USA
December 17, 2012 3:07 PM
Mr. Ban Ki-moon,

If you really want to stop the carnage and find a durable solution, request King Abdullah of Jordan to invite President Putin, President Obama, Ayatollah Khamanai , President Morsi and President Bashar Assad to meet in Amman and talk ....... There is no other solution.
In Response

by: Dr. Malek Towghi (Baluch) from: USA
December 18, 2012 2:26 PM
Dear "Plain Mirror",

I agree with your portrayal of Ban Ki-moon the Hypocrite. A meeting of Putin, Obama, Khamanai, Morsi in Damascus --of course with the approval of Bashar Assad -- is more likely to be productive. It is time for the UN Security Council to request, authorize and make arrangements for such a meeting of The Four mentioned above in Damascus or any other place of Bashar Assad's choice within Syria. It is time for my president, Barack Obama, to demonstrate statesmanship.
In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Plain Planet Africa
December 18, 2012 5:15 AM
Please spare the world the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's regular un-coordinated speaches. He promotes rebellion and terrorism and still condemns the outcome of his satanic adventures. Double-faced. His actions and reactions are equal and opposite- a destructive static scientist of the highest order... .
In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Plain Planet Africa
December 18, 2012 5:05 AM
Sorry Dr. Malek Towghi, do not continue exposing the failed positive reasoning and fair policy implimentation of the US any further. You think that Assad himself in person would answer you any negotiation outside Syria? Common reason well. Syria problem started in Syria and has to be solved in Syria. Rebels and terrorrism supporters like the US has to continue negotiations with their rebel and terror groups then Obama should go and meet Assad in Syria if the US feels concerned indeed. Even if Obama goes there, Assad wouldn't put off a dog eye on him.

by: Dr. Malek Towghi (Baluch) from: USA
December 17, 2012 2:40 PM
The civilized world including Israel have only two choices in Syria: An Alawite-dominated Regime or an Al-Qaidah-dominated Brotherhood-Salafi Regime. I will vote for the preservation of the Alawite-dominated Regime which may introduce necessary reform after calm prevails and reconstruction begins. Those who encouraged the rebels and provided them material support must pay for the reconstruction of the devastated country.

If single-family dictatorships are OK in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE & Saudi Arabia, why not in Syria?

by: Anonymous
December 17, 2012 9:16 AM
I suggest all readers of the VOA, find alternate sources for news. You will get a better focused picture of reality reading other points of view. Don't listen to just one Voice.

by: Anonymous
December 17, 2012 7:41 AM
Crimes against humanity in its purest form.
Assad needs to be crushed at all costs ASAP. Every day Assad is alive he is indiscriminately killing civilians. Even one life saved is more valuable than Assads life.

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