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



    Timeline of Syria Conflict
    Loading...

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora