News / Middle East

UN Official Warns Syrian Fighting Could Ignite Mideast

A Lebanese army soldier stands atop of an armored personnel carrier (APC) patrolling the area near a mosque complex where hardline Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir was believed to be sheltering with his supporters, in Abra near Sidon, southern Lebanon,
A Lebanese army soldier stands atop of an armored personnel carrier (APC) patrolling the area near a mosque complex where hardline Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir was believed to be sheltering with his supporters, in Abra near Sidon, southern Lebanon,
Larry Freund
A senior United Nations humanitarian official is warning the fighting in Syria endangers the entire Middle East.  

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres is urging the U.N. Security Council and the international community to take steps to mitigate the risk of an explosion that could engulf the entire Middle East.

"The danger that the Syrian conflict could ignite the whole region is not an empty warning," he said. "Measures must be taken now to mitigate the enormous risks of spillover and to support the stability of Syria’s neighbors so as to keep the situation from escalating into a political and security and humanitarian crisis that would move far beyond the international capacity to respond.”

Speaking to the Security Council from his office in Geneva, Guterres urged Syria’s neighboring countries to keep their borders open to refugees, but he also said the impact of the refugee crisis on the neighboring countries is crushing.

U.N. Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos described the situation in Syria as a regional crisis, not a crisis in Syria with regional consequences. She said humanitarian assistance provided inside Syria is insufficient.

“While humanitarian staff work tirelessly to assist affected Syrians, gaps in the response remain considerable," said Amos. "While we know where those considered most vulnerable are located, humanitarian organizations are still not able to get regular, consistent and unimpeded access to millions of affected people”

After closed-door Security Council talks, council president Rosemary DiCarlo of the United States told reporters the 15 members were united on the need for access throughout Syria for humanitarian workers. Speaking in her capacity as the U.S. representative, DiCarlo said that despite laudable efforts by U.N. agencies that are operating under very difficult conditions in Syria, many Syrians remain cut off from humanitarian assistance.

“We urge continued international pressure on the regime for the regime to meet its obligations to allow assistance to be delivered across Syria’s borders, said DiCarlo. "We also ask that the international community insist that the regime reduce the bureaucratic hurdles to the provision of cross-line assistance. And of course we are asking all parties to the conflict to allow unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.”

The U.S. ambassador said she thinks there is a commitment by Security Council members to find a way forward on the Syrian fighting. But she added that during the council’s private talks, there was a lot of frustration that the council has not been able to speak with one voice on Syria, even on humanitarian issues.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid