News / Middle East

UN Chief: Syria Ignores Repeated Calls to End Violence

Syrian soldiers man a checkpoint at the entrance of Harasta northeast of the capital Damascus, August 29, 2011
Syrian soldiers man a checkpoint at the entrance of Harasta northeast of the capital Damascus, August 29, 2011

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says violence against Syrians has continued despite his repeated calls for President Bashar al-Assad to halt "excessive and lethal" actions by government security forces.

Ban made the comments while speaking Thursday at the University of Sydney in Australia.

"I have repeatedly urged President Assad to end the excessive and lethal use of force by his security forces against his own people - Syrian people - and to engage in meaningful inclusive dialogue by taking bold political reform before it is too late," he said. "Yet the violent operation against the civilians, including mass arrests and killings, continues."

Rights activists said the crackdown continued Thursday with heavy gunfire as military vehicles stormed a village in northwestern Syria.  The operation comes a day after activists said security forces killed at least 20 people during raids against anti-government protesters, mostly in the central Homs region.

France on Wednesday accused Syria of committing "crimes against humanity" in the crackdown as activists said Syrian security forces killed at least 20 people during raids against anti-government protesters.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe condemned the violence, saying international sanctions against Syria are justified.  He met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and urged Russia to take a stronger stance against Syria.  Lavrov said his country still favors using dialogue to resolve the unrest.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said Wednesday it is "past time" for a Security Council resolution to pressure Assad's government.  She said support for additional measure is not yet unanimous, but members will continue working towards a "meaningful resolution."

Syria's opposition coalition - the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria - said the majority of Wednesday's deaths took place in the central Homs region.

A coalition spokesman said Syrian security forces backed by tanks swept into Homs early Wednesday, and that a "complete military assault" took place in several neighborhoods in the flashpoint city.

Also Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Assad, should back away from his violent crackdown on protesters and enter talks with the opposition.

During a live interview in Tehran with a Portuguese television station Radiotelevisao Portuguesa, the Iranian leader said "a military solution is never the right" one. He said problems must be dealt with through dialogue.

Earlier this year, Iranian security officials used tear gas and electric batons to disperse anti-government protesters in Tehran. Scores were arrested. And at least 72 people were killed during the crackdown on protests after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential elections. Iranian authorities also arrested hundreds of people and sentenced more than 80 of them to prison.

Meanwhile, Assad's government delayed a planned Arab League visit expected to begin Wednesday. The league said Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby now plans to visit Syria on Saturday.

Elaraby has said he wants to express Arab concerns about the violence in Syria and listen to the opinions of Syrian leaders. Last month, Syrian authorities rejected an Arab League statement calling for an end to the bloodshed.

The United Nations estimates 2,200 people have been killed since March after Assad launched the crackdown on dissent. However, Syria has blamed much of the violence on armed gangs and "terrorists."

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs