News

Syrian Violence Escalates as Envoy Awaits Response

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan speaks to the media after meeting with representatives of opposition Syrian National Council, in Ankara, Turkey, March 13, 2012.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan speaks to the media after meeting with representatives of opposition Syrian National Council, in Ankara, Turkey, March 13, 2012.

Violence continued across Syria Tuesday as former U.N. chief Kofi Annan awaited a response from Syria's government on his proposals to resolve the country's deadly violence from the on-going crackdown on dissent.

"I am expecting to hear from the Syrian authorities today since I have left some concrete proposals for them to consider.  Once I receive their answer we will know how to react. But let me say the killing and violence must cease," he said.

Annan, now the U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria, commented in Turkey after meeting with members of the opposition Syrian National Council.  He left Damascus on Sunday, after two days of talks ended without a settlement.

Activists say Syrian forces killed at least six people in a series of attack across the country. Also, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says rebels killed at least 21 members of forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad during ambushes in Idlib province and the southern Deraa region.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby called for an international probe into civilian deaths in Syria, saying they amounted to "crimes against humanity."

In another development, Assad set May 7 date for parliamentary elections. The elections are part of what the government calls a series of reforms based on a new constitution approved by referendum in February.

Opposition groups say the constitution is illegitimate and are demanding Assad's resignation.

Also, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland questioned the timing of the vote. "Parliamentary elections for a rubber-stamp parliament in the middle of the kind of violence that we're seeing across the country, it's ridiculous," she said.

The United States, Britain and Russia have each called for a halt to the violence in Syria, but the United Nations Security Council remains divided on how to resolve the crisis.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says his country will press Syria to accept a plan that calls for a "simultaneous" truce between government forces and armed rebels.

He commented Tuesday, a day after Security Council foreign ministers met in New York.

Russia and China have vetoed Security Council resolutions condemning the Syrian government's deadly crackdown on its opponents. They say the resolutions called for interfering in Syria's internal affairs.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the Security Council has "failed" in its responsibilities to the Syrian people and that the diplomatic challenge now is to build on areas where the international community agrees. "It is encouraging that everybody is talking about a political process. Everybody is now talking about humanitarian aid being delivered, about a cessation of violence and everybody on the United Nations Security Council of course is supporting the work of Kofi Annan. So there are now many common elements, but the task of bringing them together in a resolution remains," he said.

U.N. officials estimate that 7,500 people have died in the year-long violence.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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: Dont Wait
March 13, 2012 10:39 AM
The answer is abundantly clear, The Inernational Criminal Court of Justice awaits a concrecte proposal to indict those responsible for all the civillian deaths.This will send out a very clear message which is
more understandable.and will save lives.

by: joe
March 13, 2012 9:37 AM
Why hasn't the international court (??) declared Assad and senior members guilty of inhumane treatment and killings? They did with Gaddafi and gang. Why not even a statement beside warrants for their arrest coming from them?

by: Observer
March 13, 2012 9:30 AM
When they say don't interfere in the internal affairs it's mean turn your head away from the crisis don't say , don't do any thing let them kill each others, when they already get involved in the resolution counsels they should do it together to stop the killing tomorrow not coming in the resolution counsel with the intention as standing up to the west.

by: Jason
March 13, 2012 8:46 AM
Kofi Annan needs to get realistic. Assad had women and children burned alive. Do you really think the Butcher of Damascus is going to respond in an honest way? Expecting compromise from Assad is like expecting the Khmer Rouge to apologize for their role in the Cambodian genocide. It is not going to happen. Assad is a monster that must be completely removed from Syria along with the Ba’ath Party.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs