News / Middle East

    UN Orders Syria Humanitarian Aid Access

    The United Nations Security Council votes on resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 22, 2014.
    The United Nations Security Council votes on resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 22, 2014.
    VOA News
    The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution on Syria's humanitarian crisis, demanding that both sides in the conflict provide immediate access to deliver essential aid to millions of people in desperate need.

    The 15-member council united on Syria for the first time Saturday. Russia and China — which have shielded Syria's government throughout the country's three-year-long civil war — voted in favor of the resolution.

    Saturday's vote does not threaten sanctions. Russia insisted that this reference be dropped from the original Western- and Arab-backed text. But it does express the council's intent to take "further steps" in the case of non-compliance.

    The resolution demands immediate cross-border aid access and condemns rights abuses by the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.

    It also insists that all parties immediately cease all attacks against civilians and stop the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas — including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote that the resolution should not have been necessary, because "humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law."

    The U.N. chief said it is "profoundly shocking ... that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war."

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the newly adopted resolution could be "a "hinge-point in the tortured three years" of the crisis. He called it "a resolution of concrete steps to answer the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today."

    Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, said the resolution makes more than 15 "very specific demands."

    These include an end to human rights abuses, arbitrary detention and torture, an end to the militarization of medical facilities, the departure of all foreign fighters from Syria, and implementation of the Geneva I communiqué.

    Meanwhile, fighting continued in Syria on Saturday.

    Government forces captured two rebel-held areas on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after days of intense fighting near a decades-old cease-fire line between Syria and Israel.

    A Syrian television report, citing a military official, said troops and pro-government gunmen known as National Defense Forces captured the areas of Rasm al-Hour and Rasm al-Sad, south of the town of Quneitra.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed troops were on the offensive, adding that the air force was taking part in the attack.

    The Observatory also said Syrian air raids had hit a rebel-held bastion north of Damascus while clashes raged on the outskirts of the capital.

    In neighboring Lebanon, a suicide attacker blew himself up at an army checkpoint, killing two people after soldiers tried to search his car in the eastern town of Hermel, a Shi'ite Hezbollah militia stronghold.

    Areas under Hezbollah domination in eastern Lebanon and southern Beirut have suffered a string of violent attacks in recent months, since the group acknowledged it has sent fighters to support President Bashar al-Assad's troops in Syria's war.

    At least one of the dead in the suicide attack was a soldier. Until Saturday, the attacks had all killed civilians.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: John from: US
    February 23, 2014 9:20 AM
    If the US and Russia would stop the proxy war there this would be over already. Get out of the way and let the people of this country decide what it will be.

    by: Ali from: Iran
    February 22, 2014 7:08 PM
    hey guys, Assad never attacked Israel and never attacked US interests... I am just saying that if Israel did not take him out and the US never instructed the israhellis to destroy his military - maybe he is not all that bad. maybe the stories that you hear are just some sort of Saudi fabrication? the Saudis are the biggest liars in the ME and they own most of your Media - check it out..!!!
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    February 23, 2014 12:08 AM
    Any Iranians that joined in with assads crimes, or simply trying to defend him in any way from being prosecuted by the people of Syria should be held accountable as accomplices. Thats a fact. As for hezzbolah (the know terror organization) they are helping assad. So it's time the world pin assad to the wall for his crimes and extinguish this terrible situation. No war criminals get away these days unless they commit suicide.
    In Response

    by: Habash from: Saudi Arabia
    February 22, 2014 9:13 PM
    hey Ali, why you executing thousands and thousands of Sunni Arabs women and children?? why?? and let me tell you (Iranian filth) we don't need USA and Israel to crush you, we will do it on our own.

    by: Anonymous
    February 22, 2014 6:05 PM
    A STRONG message should be sent to assad by the majority of the UN that if assad is in fact responsible of crime he will be facing a tribunal. This message needs to sink in to his head so he has understanding. He does not currently take ANY responsibility for anything he has done. Every Syrian life counts. Because he thinks he can get away with it without facing any tribunal he is continueing his murder spree of bombarding entire cities, towns, and villages killing all walks of life. This needs to be stopped immediatly. The guy needs to be taught to be responsible for your actions, something his father never taught him, and his father did the same, murdered thousands.

    by: Anonymous
    February 22, 2014 5:56 PM
    EXCELLENT NEWS.... Bashar al assad is not going to like this... He wanted the people of Syria to buckle by hardship (A form of terror). This is excellent news, if only they could capture assad and hold him responsible for ALL of his murders in Syria. You do the crime, you do the time. You cant murder anyone you want and as many as you want... There is a consequence for taking human lives, especially thousands. It doesnt matter if you are a leader of a country or not... It's a crime. The only way this war will EVER end is if assad is arrested.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora