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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
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.

VOA Blogs