News / Middle East

UN Warns of Surge in Violence in Syria

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks at Damascus University, January 10, 2012.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks at Damascus University, January 10, 2012.
Margaret Besheer

A senior United Nations official says 400 people have been killed in Syria since an Arab League monitoring mission deployed there late last month to investigate the ongoing political violence. The U.S. ambassador on Tuesday condemned the surge in violence, saying it is clear the Syrian government is massacring its own people in “cold blood.”

Diplomats said that U.N. political chief Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council that an average of 40 people per day have been killed since Arab League monitors arrived in Syria on December 26.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice condemned the violence and put the blame on President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“That is a clear indication that the government of Syria, rather than using the opportunity of its commitment to the Arab League to end the violence and fulfill all of its commitments under the protocol, is instead stepping up the violence, despite the presence of monitors, and carrying out further acts of brutality against its population, even often in the presence of those monitors,” said Rice.

Rice repeated the Obama administration’s call for Assad to step aside and she criticized his speech on Tuesday, in which he again blamed foreign conspirators for months of protests and violence, saying his government would crush terrorism with an “iron fist.”

Rice also expressed concern about reports that at least two Kuwaitis who are a part of the Arab League monitoring mission were injured in Syria by pro-government elements.

Syria’s U.N. envoy Bashar al-Ja’afari told reporters that the death toll continues to climb because of instigation and incitement by foreign countries, including some on the Security Council. As for the injured Arab League monitors, he questioned who was responsible for the incidents.

“There is no Syrian interest whatsoever to harm the credibility and the safety and the security of the Arab envoys. This is why you have to look at those who perpetrated these attacks against some of the Arab envoys on the other side,” said Ja’afari.

Western diplomats have stepped up calls to revive negotiations on a draft Security Council resolution condemning the violence and expressing support for the Arab League initiative to restore peace.

Work on the Russian sponsored text has gone into a “deep freeze” since late December, according to one diplomat. Some diplomats say they are awaiting the outcome of a report by the Arab League on the monitoring mission, which is expected on January 19, before going further.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have died since the Syrian anti-government protests began last March.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid