News / Middle East

UN Envoys Debate Revised Syria Text; Hama Marks 1982 Massacre

U.N. Security Council (file)
U.N. Security Council (file)

Diplomats at the United Nations are discussing the latest version of a European-Arab plan to end the Syrian crisis.

The revised Security Council draft resolution "fully supports" an Arab League proposal for a political transition in Syria, but no longer includes an explicit call for President Bashar al-Assad to delegate his powers and form a unity government ahead of elections.

Several Western diplomats Thursday said they are hoping for a Council vote in the next few days. But others said there are no signs that Russia, a key Syrian ally, is satisfied. Moscow, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, has promised to reject any text that hints at regime change or that does not explicitly rule out foreign military intervention.

Also Thursday, Russia's deputy defense minister, Anatoly Antonov said Moscow will keep selling arms to Syria despite mounting international condemnation of Mr. Assad's bloody crackdown on an 11-month opposition uprising. A clause in the U.N. draft resolution expressing "grave concern at the continued transfer of weapons into Syria" was stricken from the text.

Earlier in Hama, despite a heavy security clampdown, protesters splashed red paint symbolizing blood in the streets to commemorate Hafez al-Assad's February 1982 assault on the rebellious city. Amnesty International has estimated that between 10,000 and 25,000 people were killed in the siege, although conflicting figures exist and the Syrian government has never published an official toll.

The incident carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's late father is considered one of the most infamous massacres in the modern Middle East.

Residents said Hama was completely shut down Thursday, with schools and shops closed and employees staying home. Activists painted at least two streets red and threw red dye into the waters of Hama's famous and ancient water wheels. Internet footage showed graffiti that read, "Hafez died, and Hama didn't. Bashar will die, and Hama won't."

Hafez al-Assad was fighting a violent Islamist uprising in which the banned Muslim Brotherhood and its armed wing made a last stand in Hama against his iron-fisted rule. For many of Syria's Sunni Muslim majority, Hama is synonymous with an assault on their religion by the elder Assad, whose family belongs to the minority Shi'ite Alawite sect they deem heretical.

In contrast, the current unrest began with months of peaceful protests that have since given way to an armed uprising intent on ousting Mr. Assad from power.

The Syrian government accuses armed terrorists of driving the anti-Assad revolt and killing 2,000 security personnel. The United Nations estimated the death toll from the unrest at 5,400 last month, before it stopped updating the figure because of difficulties in obtaining information.

More than 300 people were killed nationwide during the past week alone. Much of the violence has occurred near Damascus as government troops drove the rebel Free Syrian Army out of the city's eastern suburbs during several days of heavy fighting.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP 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.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid