News / Middle East

West Urges Syria's Assad to Step Down

In this photo taken by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad addresses a meeting for the central committee of the Baath party in Damascus, Syria, August 17, 2011
In this photo taken by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad addresses a meeting for the central committee of the Baath party in Damascus, Syria, August 17, 2011

The United States, European Union and other world powers are calling for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because of his deadly crackdown on political protesters.

U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement Thursday saying the time had come for Assad to "step aside."  He also issued an executive order announcing "unprecedented sanctions" on Syria, in a bid to deepen the economic isolation of Assad's government.  

Separately, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the transition to democracy had begun in Syria and that it was time for Assad to "get out of the way."

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton echoed the call and said Assad had completely lost legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people.  Britain, France, Germany and Canada also urged Mr. Assad to step down.

There was no immediate reaction from the Syrian leader. However, state-controlled news reports say Assad told members of the ruling Baath party on Wednesday that Syrian reforms would not be a result of "foreign pressure."

The public calls for Assad's resignation come on the same day that the U.N. Security Council is to hear a report on the Syrian government's tactics.  U.N. human rights investigators say the crackdown on dissent may amount to "crimes against humanity."

The findings are in a 22-page report that was released by the office of U.N. human rights chief, Navi Pillay, ahead of her briefing to the Security Council later Thursday. Pillay is expected to call for the Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court for alleged human rights violations.  

The report cites "widespread" attacks against civilians that include the use of snipers, air power and other military measures.

On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told  Assad that he was alarmed at reports of excessive use of force by government security forces and continued widespread violations of human rights.

Ban spoke by telephone with Assad, who said military and police operations had stopped.

Activists said Syrian security forces detained hundreds of people Wednesday in the besieged port city of Latakia, where at least 35 people have been killed during the past week.

A London-based Syrian rights group said more than 700 troops raided homes in Latakia's southern al-Raml district, arresting people on lists.

Activists also said forces loyal to Assad killed nine people in the central city of Homs, including two protesters shot to death in front of a mosque after nightly Ramadan prayers.

Latakia's al-Raml area is home to a crowded Palestinian refugee camp where many low-income Syrians also live.  U.N. officials say as many as 10,000 residents fled the neighborhood during the government's four-day operation to crush dissent in the city.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said Wednesday it has determined the whereabouts of about 2,000 of the displaced people and is providing them with aid.

Rights groups and activists say at least 1,800 civilians have been killed since the start of the government's crackdown in mid-March.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid