News / Middle East

    UN Security Council to Examine Russian Proposal on Syria

    Experts from the 15 nations on the U.N. Security Council are scheduled to discuss a new draft resolution on the violence in Syria.

    The meeting Tuesday will examine the proposed resolution Russia sent to the Security Council Monday, the third Moscow has presented in the past month.

    Western diplomats said Monday the draft resolution is confusing and does not make clear whether Russia would accept tough language demanded by the West.

    A military ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia insists that any Council action should target not only the Assad government, but also the opposition movement demanding an end to his 11-year autocratic rule.

    Western powers have been pushing the Council for months to condemn the Syrian government's violent suppression of the 10-month uprising, but Russia and China have blocked such action.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Council Monday to take "serious" action against Syria, where he says casualties from the unrest have reached "unacceptable" levels.

    Speaking during a visit to Abu Dhabi, Ban appealed to the Council to act in a "coherent" manner in resolving the Syrian crisis.

    He also praised the Arab League for holding a dialogue with Assad and sending observers to Syria last month.  U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey told VOA Monday that a small group of U.N. rights experts will travel to Cairo to train the Arab League observers this week, at the request of the regional bloc.

    Syrian opposition activists have criticized the observer mission, saying the Syrian government is deceiving it and using the monitors as a cover to intensify security operations against the opposition.

    In another sign of growing domestic pressure on Assad, the prominent Syrian opposition group the Syrian National Council says it has reached an agreement to boost coordination with Syrian army defectors known as the Free Syrian Army.  In a statement Monday, the SNC says it will cooperate with the Syrian rebels on issues such as accommodating new defectors within the rebel army.

    The Syrian government blames the uprising on armed terrorists.

    The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,000 people.  Syria says "terrorists" have killed about 2,000 members of the security forces since the unrest began.

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