News / Middle East

US Warns of Escalating Syrian Conflict

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid