News / Middle East

UN Talks on Syria Stall Again

U.N. Security Council
U.N. Security Council

Ambassadors to the United Nations Security Council have failed to reach agreement on a draft European-Arab resolution to end the bloodshed in Syria, after a third straight session of talks.

U.N. envoys said Thursday the latest revisions are now being drafted for them to send to their capitals for consideration.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the decision to send a draft back to governments "does not prejudge in any way" whether approval is likely. The U.S. envoy, Susan Rice, also played down expectations, saying there still are some complicated issues "that our capitals will have to deliberate on."

A previous draft had said the Council "fully supports" an Arab League proposal for a political transition in Syria, but no longer included an explicit call for President Bashar al-Assad to delegate his powers and form a unity government ahead of elections. Churkin told a closed-door session of the world body Thursday that Moscow will veto the draft if it is submitted with the phrase "fully supports" still intact.

Russia, 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, despite a heavy security clampdown in the central Syrian city of Hama, 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 Mr. 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.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid