News / Middle East

US Warns of Escalating Syrian Conflict

Larry Freund
NEW YORK - The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is warning that the most probable outcome of the current Syrian conflict is the escalation of violence and its spread to countries in the region. The meeting of the U.N. Security Council comes as U.N. monitors say 13 bodies have been discovered in northeastern Syria. The Council discussed the latest bloodshed in the 15-month uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice emerged from a closed-door meeting of the Security Council Wednesday and told reporters the most probable scenario in Syria is the worst case: a major crisis in Syria and in the region. “This becomes a proxy conflict with arms flowing in from all sides. And members of this Council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they are prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this Council," he said.

Ambassador Rice said that scenario is the one that the 15-member Security Council has tried to avoid by its support for the Syrian peace plan of international envoy Kofi Annan.

The decision, she said, rests with the Syrian government, whether it will fulfill its commitment to the peace plan. If Syria does not do that, she went on, the Security Council should act swiftly and surely. In terms of U.N. sanctions against Syria, Rice said that during the Security Council meeting there were differences of views, some countries expressing grave skepticism, some saying it is past due.

Russia continues to be among those countries expressing skepticism about sanctions.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters there are already very severe unilateral sanctions against Syria and that his country’s attitude toward U.N.-imposed sanctions continues to be negative. Asked about Rice’s comments of possible action outside the Security Council’s authority, Churkin emphasized the need for implementation of the Annan plan by all parties - the government, the opposition and the international community.

“If it doesn’t work - and this is something which you don’t have to quote my American colleague to me to absorb the significance of that. That’s what I’ve been saying for months, that the Syrian situation has very grave potential of impacting not only Syria in a very bad way, but the region," he said.

The Security Council expects to hear a report from Kofi Annan next week on his current talks in the Middle East. Mr. Annan left Syria Wednesday and went to talks with Jordanian officials. A U.N. official said the international envoy did not secure any major steps from the Syrian government to implement a faltering peace plan for the country.

Mr. Annan’s deputy, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, spoke from Geneva to the closed-door Security Council meeting. He said Syria needs to take steps to convince the international community and the Syrian people that it is ready for a new course. He called for concrete and significant gestures on the cessation of violence.

Meanwhile, U.N. observers reported that 13 bodies were discovered in Syria. The U.N. says all the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs and some appeared to have been shot in the head from a short distance.

U.N. observer mission chief Robert Mood said he is "deeply disturbed by this appalling and inexcusable act." He also called on all parties "to exercise restraint and end the cycle of violence."

International outrage has mounted since a massacre of more than 100 civilians, including women and children, took place in the central Syrian town of Houla last Friday.

The United Nations says more than 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the government began its crackdown on dissent in March 2011.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rug from: San Diego
May 30, 2012 8:20 PM
Just as long as our troops are not sent into harm's way for their civil war mess ... either in the skies in a "no fly zone" or on the ground.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs