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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More