News / Middle East

UN Security Council Ends Syria Observer Mission

Free Syrian Army fighter carries body of fellow fighter during clashes in Aleppo, August 16, 2012.
Free Syrian Army fighter carries body of fellow fighter during clashes in Aleppo, August 16, 2012.
Alex Villarreal
A day after a bombing near the U.N. observer headquarters in Damascus, the United Nations Security Council decided to end the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria when its mandate expires on Sunday.
 
“The mandate of UNSMIS is over,” French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters after the decision. The U.N. envoy from Russia, a chief Syria ally, said the Kremlin regrets the decision and will continue to push for a diplomatic solution to the near 18-month-long uprising in Syria.

Thursday's Security Council session follows a Syrian warplane attack on Wednesday in the rebel-controlled northern town of Azaz, where more than 40 civilians were reported killed and more than 100 others wounded.

Wounded Syrians evacuate a field hospital after a second air strike in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.Wounded Syrians evacuate a field hospital after a second air strike in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.
x
Wounded Syrians evacuate a field hospital after a second air strike in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.
Wounded Syrians evacuate a field hospital after a second air strike in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.
VOA correspondent Scott Bobb was in Azaz during the aerial attack and saw many casualties. Hospitals in nearby Turkey were overwhelmed by wounded Syrians, many of whom had lost limbs.

Human Rights Watch monitors visiting Azaz Thursday said the attack leveled a block of houses. They said Syrian government forces may have been targeting two nearby facilities of the rebel Free Syrian Army.

"This horrific attack killed and wounded scores of civilians and destroyed a whole residential block," the group's acting emergencies director, Anna Neistat, said. "Yet again, Syrian government forces attacked with callous disregard for civilian life."

U.N. seeks more funding

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, meets with Faisal Mekdad Syrian Ambassador to UN, during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, August 14, 2012.UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, meets with Faisal Mekdad Syrian Ambassador to UN, during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, August 14, 2012.
x
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, meets with Faisal Mekdad Syrian Ambassador to UN, during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, August 14, 2012.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, meets with Faisal Mekdad Syrian Ambassador to UN, during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, August 14, 2012.
The U.N. humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, is calling for more funding to help as many as 2.5 million people in need of aid in the violence-torn nation.

Amos told reporters in the Syrian capital Thursday that fighting in the nearly 18-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has become more intense. She said the humanitarian situation in Syria has worsened since she last visited in March.

"Over a million people have been uprooted and face destitution," Amos said in Damascus. "Perhaps a million more have urgent humanitarian needs due to the widening impact of the crisis on the economy and on people's livelihoods. Back in March, we estimated that a million people were in need of help. Now as many as 2.5 million are in need of assistance, and we are working to update our plans and our funding requirements."

Amos said the aid that the U.N. and its partners are currently providing only partially meets the nation's needs. She appealed to the international community to "contribute more generously" and said she will continue to urge the Syrian government to ease restrictions on aid groups.

"I continue to lobby the government to be more flexible in its approach to humanitarian operations," she said. "There is no reason why ordinary Syrians - men, women and children - should not receive as much help as is practically possible."

U.N. investigators said Wednesday the Syrian government and their militia allies have committed war crimes that include the killing and torturing of civilians.

The investigators said rebel forces have also committed war crimes, but that these crimes "did not reach the gravity, frequency and scale" of those committed by the government.'

Assad losing support

Meanwhile, the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday suspended Syria's membership because of the government's crackdown on dissent and opposition rebels.

The French news agency says the bloc expressed "deep concern at the massacres and inhuman acts suffered by the Syrian people."

The United States commended the OIC for the suspension. In a statement after the move, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the decision sends a "strong message" to President Assad's government.

"Today's action underscores the Assad regime's international isolation and the widespread support for the Syrian people and their struggle for a democratic state that represents their aspirations and respects their human rights," she said.

International divisions

The Syrian government continues to rely on allies Russia and China to blunt growing international calls for Assad to resign.

Syrian envoy Bouthaina Shaaban has praised China and Russia for their response to the crisis in Syria, saying that unlike the West, those countries are not acting like "colonizers."

"We're happy to see countries like China and Russia, who are not colonizers or deal with people as colonizers,'' Shaaban said in an interview. She called that "a very different stance from the West."

Shaaban's comments appeared Thursday in the state-run China Daily newspaper. The adviser to Assad is due to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

China and Russia have both vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions threatening Syria with sanctions for using heavy weapons against civilians.

Syrian activists say more than 20,000 people have been killed since the start of the uprising in March of last year.

Photo Gallery: Latest Images from Syria

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter observes the area during clashes in Aleppo, August 16, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of a fellow fighter in Aleppo, August 16, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter reads the Quran before clashes in Aleppo, August 16, 2012.
  • A man searches among houses that were destroyed during a recent Syrian Air Force air strike in Azaz, August 15, 2012.
  • Syrians evacuate a wounded man from under the rubble after an air strike destroyed at least ten houses in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.
  • Injured Syrian women arrive at a field hospital after an air strike hit their homes in the town of Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.
  • A Syrian man carries an injured child to a field hospital after an air strike hit homes in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, August 15, 2012.
  • Wounded Syrians arrive at a field hospital after an air strike hit their homes in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, August 15, 2012.
  • Syrians wounded in an air strike that hit their homes evacuate a field hospital after a second air strike in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, August 15, 2012.
  • Wounded Syrians evacuate a field hospital after a second air strike in Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, August 15, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter passes an AK-47 rifle to his fellow fighter in Aleppo, August 14, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter reacts after hearing news that his commander had been killed by tank shell in Aleppo, August 14, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter fires his sniper rifle from a house in Aleppo, August 14, 2012.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters sit behind a barricade on a street in Aleppo, August 13, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter observes the area with a pair of binoculars in Aleppo, August 13, 2012.

Related Video report by Scott Bobb

Syrian Warplanes Shatter Rebel-Held Northern Cityi
|| 0:00:00
X
Scott Bobb
August 16, 2012 12:39 AM
Syrian rebels have gained control of a swath of territory along Syria's border with Turkey. Bu,t as VOA's Scott Bobb reports from the city of Azzaz, security in the area can be shattered in a moment.


Timeline of Syria Conflict
Loading...

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
August 17, 2012 9:08 AM
Whats the point, the UN is made irrelevant, when the "rebels" are being armed/funded by the same people that claim, they want the "violence" to end. Regime change or WAR is what Syria's choices are...


by: Gamla from: France
August 16, 2012 3:05 PM
you are wrong - I think that the UN mission is a tremendous success... when the number of dead rich 70000... or there about... we will send some more Indian and African "observers" - i think its wonderful... much better than the Arab League has done... or the league of Organized Islamic Imbeciles... OIC...


by: Anonymous
August 16, 2012 1:17 PM
This UN Observer mission was a disgust to the world. All the Observers did was drive around counting atrocities while a government is bombarding civillians. Disgusting.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


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