Neighbor-on-neighbor violence between Sunnis and Shiites is breaking out across Syria, according to reports, and some fear sectarian strife could spread beyond the country's borders.
Refugees fleeing Syria have begun speaking to reporters about the type of government-sponsored violence there, and the picture is grim. The New York Times' Anne Barnard spoke with refugees in Lebanon who "described a worrying new element: what they see as an increasingly sectarian motive to the violence." In The Times, the refugees said that even in smaller villages, residents are falling victim to government crackdowns, shelling and sniper fire. "The refugees said they believed that a majority of Sunni residents of four villages, Rabli, Zahra, Joussi and Mazaria, had fled to other countries or other areas inside Syria." The paper says the accounts "reinforce reports from activists reached inside Syria by telephone and e-mail of displacement along sectarian lines, and interviews with people in Syria." United Press International reports that there are at least 6,000 refugees in eastern Lebanon—a community that says they've been threatened by Sunni civilians armed by the government.
The world's emerging powers on Thursday said dialogue was the only answer to crises in Syria and Iran at a summit aimed at bolstering their non-Western alliance's influence on global affairs.
The BRICS bloc -- comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- vowed to work together more closely on areas of mutual concern and launched plans for their first joint institution, a development bank.
At their fourth summit together, they also issued a pre-emptive warning against any military action by the West or Israel to end the unrest in Syria or the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.
"We agreed that a lasting solution in Syria and Iran can only be found through dialogue," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a closing statement at the one-day summit in New Delhi.
Syria says revolt over, but army still shooting
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria says the year-old revolt to topple President Bashar al-Assad is over, but the army again shelled opposition areas on Saturday and rebels said they would not cease fire until tanks, artillery and heavy weapons are withdrawn.
Washington and Gulf Arab states urged peace envoy Kofi Annan to set a timeline for "next steps" if there is no ceasefire, and Saudi Arabia repeated a call for rebels to be armed.
Annan has said neither measure would be helpful. The former U.N. chief's mission has brought no respite in the killings.
Syria also said it would keep its forces in cities to "maintain security" until it is safe to withdraw in line with the peace deal, which Assad has said he accepts.
Annan's plan says the army must stop violence immediately and be the first to withdraw forces.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Western and Arab nations stepped up verbal pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, mistrusting his acceptance of a plan to end a year of bloodshed, but stopped short of arming rebels or fully recognizing an opposition council.
In a sign of impatience with what they see as stalling by Assad, the "Friends of Syria" urged peace envoy Kofi Annan to set a timeline for next steps, including a return to the U.N. Security Council, if the Syrian leader fails to halt bloodshed.
Violence has raged on unabated despite Annan's mediation.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported at least 41 people killed across Syria on Sunday, including five in bombardment of pro-opposition districts in Homs.
Secretary Clinton Says Syrian President Assad 'Must Go'
By REENA NINAN and MARISA TAYLOR | ABC News – 4/1/12
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that, despite a newly-brokered cease fire agreement with Syrian President Bashar al Assad, his days as president are numbered as his forces continue the bloody clash with Syrian opposition groups.
"We think Assad must go," Clinton told ABC today after attending the one-day Friends of the Syrian People conference in Istanbul. "The sooner the better for everyone concerned."
But she added that the process must be multi-pronged.
The UN-Arab League peace plan and cease fire negotiated last week by envoy Kofi Annan is a good beginning, she said, but Assad has yet to stop the violence.
"There has to be a timeline," Clinton said regarding the diplomatic process. "It can't go on indefinitely."
By BRADLEY KLAPPER and CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA | Associated Press – 39 mins agoISTANBUL (AP) — A coalition of more than 70 partners, including the United States, pledged Sunday to send millions of dollars and communications equipment to Syria's opposition groups, signaling deeper involvement in the conflict amid a growing belief that diplomacy and sanctions alone cannot end the Damascus regime's repression.
The shift by the U.S. and its Western and Arab allies toward seeking to sway the military balance in Syria carries regional risks because the crisis there increasingly resembles a proxy conflict that could exacerbate sectarian tensions. The Syrian rebels are overmatched by heavily armed regime forces.
The summit meeting of the "Friends of the Syrian People" follows a year of failed diplomacy that seems close to running its course with a troubled peace plan led by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
Indeed, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other participants at the conference in Istanbul uniformly expressed concern that Annan's plan might backfire, speculating that Syrian President Bashar Assad would try to manipulate it to prolong his hold on power.
U.S. moves closer to intervention in Syria with show of support for opposition
Posted on April 2, 2012
April 2, 2012 – SYRIA – The United States and dozens of other countries moved closer Sunday to direct intervention in the fighting in Syria, with Arab nations pledging $100 million to pay opposition fighters and the Obama administration agreeing to send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria’s military, according to participants gathered here. The moves reflected a growing consensus, at least among the officials who met here this weekend under the rubric “Friends of Syria,” that mediation efforts by the U.N. peace envoy, Kofi Annan, were failing to halt the violence in Syria and that more forceful action was needed. With Russia and China blocking measures that could open the way for military action by the United Nations, the countries lined up against the government of President Bashar Assad have sought to bolster Syria’s beleaguered opposition through means that seemed to stretch the definition of humanitarian assistance. The offer to provide salaries and communications equipment to rebel fighters known as the Free Syrian Army – with the hopes that the money might encourage government soldiers to defect, officials said — is bringing the loose Friends of Syria coalition to the edge of a proxy war against Assad’s government and its international supporters, principally Iran and Russia. Direct assistance to the rebel fighters, even as Assad’s loyalists press on with a brutal crackdown, risked worsening a conflict that already has led to about 9,000 deaths and could plunge Syria into a protracted civil war. Ghalioun did not directly address the financial assistance from the Arab countries — including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — but he added, “This is high noon for action.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the conference that Assad had defied Annan’s efforts to broker an end to the fighting and begin a political transition. She said that new assaults began in Idlib and Aleppo provinces even after Assad publicly accepted the plan a week ago, which called for an immediate cease-fire followed by negotiations with the opposition. “The world must judge Assad by what he does, not by what he says,” Clinton said in a statement to officials, who were seated around an enormous rectangular table. “And we cannot sit back and wait any longer.” –Mercury News
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Opposition activists accused Syrian troops of shelling two cities on Tuesday in a campaign to weaken forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad's government before a ceasefire deadline next week.
Rebel fighters also kept up their attacks, killing three soldiers in separate actions in northern Syria, activists said.
Assad has agreed to a ceasefire negotiated by international peace envoy Kofi Annan from April 10, the latest effort to end a year of bloodshed stemming from an uprising against his rule.
An advance team from the U.N. peacekeeping department is due in Damascus this week to see how observers can monitor the truce, Annan's spokesman said in Geneva.
Clinton says she doubts that Assad is interested in peace at conference
ISTANBUL – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed doubt Sunday about whether President Bashar Assad would ever adhere to a U.N.-sponsored peace plan to end Syria's year of bloodshed, and urged world solidarity against a regime that she said was waging war on its own people.
Clinton told the 60 nations attending the "Friends of the Syrian People" conference in Turkey that no one could "sit back and wait any longer," even as the United States refuses to entertain military options to intervene in the crisis. Instead, she urged unity behind a four-point plan that includes more sanctions, humanitarian aid, support for the opposition and the promise of justice one day for the Assad regime's willing accomplices in human rights atrocities.
"We meet at an urgent moment for Syria and the region," Clinton said.
International pressure forced Assad to agree to U.N. mediator Kofi Annan's six-point plan including an immediate a cease-fire, she noted, but said "nearly a week has gone by, and we have to conclude that the regime is adding to its long list of broken promises."
NEWS media cannot report the facts
When Muslims cry 'PEACE' - all they mean is - shut up and dont fire on us.
Our Islamic satanic cult demands we kill and we enjoy it.
They dont intend to keep any peace agreements - and - they dont. They only promise - meaningless.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — International envoy Kofi Annan reported "alarming levels" of daily casualties in Syria as a U.N. team arrived in Damascus to negotiate the possible deployment of U.N. monitors for any cease-fire between Syrian troops and rebel forces.
Annan, the U.N.-Arab League envoy, said Thursday that Syria has informed him of partial withdrawals from three locations — Idlib, Zabadani and Daraa — "but it is clear that more far-reaching action is urgently required."
His comments came as activists reported that Syrian troops attacked the Damascus suburb of Douma, an assault they said shows that Syrian President Bashar Assad is intensifying violence in the days before the April 10 deadline to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from cities and towns. Assad's crackdown on the yearlong uprising has left at least 9,000 people dead, according to the U.N.
Russia warns West, Arabs against arming Syria rebels
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia warned Western and Arab nations on Wednesday against arming opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying it would lead to years of bloodshed without helping the rebels to defeat government forces.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the "Friends of Syria" group of Western and Arab nations is undermining international envoy Kofi Annan's efforts to end more than a year of violence, and criticized countries that support arming the opposition.
"It is clear as day that even if the opposition is armed to the teeth, it will not defeat the Syrian army, and there will simply be slaughter and mutual destruction for long, long years," Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.
Russia has emphasized that the efforts of U.N.-Arab League envoy Annan are the only path to peace and has stayed away from "Friends of Syria" meetings, saying the group is biased in favor of Assad's opponents and is not promoting peace.
Violence dims Syria truce hopes, 53 killed
April 7, 2012 BEIRUT (Reuters)
Syrian troops pounded opposition areas on Saturday, activists said, killing 53 people in an offensive that has sent thousands of refugees surging into Turkey before next week's U.N.-backed ceasefire aimed at staunching a year of bloodshed.
Each side has accused the other of intensifying assaults in the run-up to the truce due to take effect early on Thursday if government forces begin pulling back from towns 48 hours earlier in line with U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.
The military shelled Deir Baalba district in the restive city of Homs, killing four people, the grassroots Local Coordination Committees opposition group said. Thirteen men were also found killed in cold blood in the same area, it said.
Syria troops, opposition clash in Damascus suburbs
Syrian activists say regime forces are clashing with opposition fighters in three suburbs of the capital Damascus, less than a week before an internationally sponsored cease-fire is to go into effect.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Syrian troops conducted raids Friday in the Damascus suburbs of Saqba and Douma following overnight clashes between regime forces and army defectors in Saqba and the suburb of Arbeen. It says three members of the military were killed.
Nightmare civil war in Syria spills across 2 borders:
opposition reports a thousand Syrians killed in a week
April 10, 2012 – DAMASCUS – Syrian troops shelled and raided opposition strongholds across Syria on Tuesday, activists said, denying claims by the foreign minister that regime forces have begun pulling out of some areas in compliance with a U.N.-brokered truce. The main Syrian opposition group estimated that some 1,000 people have been killed in escalating regime attacks in the week leading up to Tuesday’s withdrawal deadline, though such figures cannot be verified independently. France and Britain accused Syria of deception and even Damascus ally Russia seemed critical of Bashar Assad’s regime, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov complaining that Syria’s “efforts to implement the plan could have been more active and resolute.” Syrian opposition leaders said Tuesday they remain committed to the cease-fire brokered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, which requires Syrian forces to withdraw from towns and villages on Tuesday and both sides to cease all hostilities by 6 a.m. Thursday. The truce is widely seen as the last chance for diplomacy, and its collapse could push Syria even closer to an all-out civil war. The opposition as well as the U.S. and its allies have been deeply skeptical that the regime would comply with the cease-fire because it has violated previous agreements and escalated attacks on opposition strongholds in recent weeks. At the same time, options for ending the fighting appear to be dwindling with the international community unwilling to intervene militarily. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero on Tuesday dismissed Syria’s claims of a withdrawal as “a new expression of this flagrant and unacceptable lie” and British Foreign Secretary William Hague accused Damascus of using the cease-fire deadline “as a cover for intensified military efforts to crush Syria’s opposition.” Activists said Tuesday they’ve seen no signs of a troop pullback. Instead, regime forces have used heavy weapons including anti-aircraft guns against civilians, Bassma Kodmani, a spokeswoman for the largest opposition group, the Syrian National Council, told reporters in Geneva. Kodmani estimated that some 1,000 people were killed since Annan announced the cease-fire timeline on April 2. “So every day is a very, very painful time that is given to the Assad regime,” she said, adding the death toll was based on figures provided by various groups, including the Syrian Arab Human Rights Network. Syria restricts the access of foreign journalists, and claims about casualties cannot be verified independently. The U.N. has said previously it believes more than 9,000 people have been killed in the 13-month uprising against Assad. Annan has not commented on the apparent breakdown of his plan, and his spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, would only say Tuesday that it’s up to the U.N. Security Council to decide what to do next. As claims and counterclaims about Syrian truce violations flew across the region Tuesday, Annan toured a camp in Turkey, near the Syrian border where hundreds of Syrian refugees greeted him with chants of “Syria, Syria, Syria!” The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group, said the Syrian regime gave no indication it was pulling back forces. Instead, the group and activists in Syria reported shelling attacks and raids in several locations in the north, center and south of the country, it said. “Soldiers are not being withdrawn from towns and villages,” said Fadi al-Yassin, an activist in the Idlib province close to Turkey. “On the contrary, reinforcements are being sent.” –AJC
War already spilling across two borders: The conflict in Syria spilled across two borders today, killing a cameraman in Lebanon and wounding at least five people in a refugee camp in Turkey as gunfire flew across the tense frontiers, authorities said. The violence came as an UN-brokered peace plan all but collapsed and bolstered fears that the uprising could spark a broader conflagration by sucking in neighbouring countries. Ali Shaaban, a cameraman for the Al Jadeed television station, was filming in Lebanon’s northern Wadi Khaled area when a bullet pierced his chest, Lebanese security officials said. The gunfire came from the nearby Syrian village of Armouta, the officials said. Mr. Shaaban, who was born in 1980, died on the way to the hospital. His colleague, reporter Hussein Khreis, said the team heard heavy gunfire around them from all sides “falling like rain.” Mr. Shaaban was inside a car when he was struck, Mr Khreis said. “If you see the car you would think it was in a war zone,” Mr. Khreis said on Al Jadeed TV. “It is completely destroyed from the bullets.” He said they waited for more than two hours for the army and some residents to come and pull them out to safety. –Irish Times
Clinton says Russia keeping Syrian president in power
April 11, 2012 – SYRIA – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has vowed to pressure Russia over the Syria crisis, saying its refusal to support action by the United Nations Security Council was keeping President Bashar Assad in power. Mrs. Clinton said the U.S. would again try to persuade Russia, a key Syrian ally, to support action that would at least allow humanitarian access, when foreign ministers of the G-8 meet in Washington. She warned that the danger was rising of regional conflict and civil war flaring from the violence in Syria. Russia’s “refusal to join us in some kind of constructive action is keeping Assad in power, well-armed, able to ignore the demands of his own people, the region and the world,” she said. Her comments came after Syrian troops defied a UN-brokered ceasefire plan on Tuesday, launching fresh attacks on rebellious areas. But UN special envoy Kofi Annan said there was still time to salvage a truce that he described as the only chance for peace. –Belfast Telegraph
April 11, 2012 Damascus skipped the truce and escalated attacks on the population.
Hussein 0bama is still against broad US military intervention in Syria, but may attack anyway.
Russia is heavily involved in defending Syria.
UN observers moving into Syria on the Syrian-Israeli Golan border.
NOT good for Israel as the UN hates Israel.
Assad unlikely to accept UN intervention.
Turkey considering military action, not just words. Armed Turkish assault helicopters flew over the Syrian border to warn Damascus that if Syrian soldiers again fired across the border as they did April 9, they would be targeted by the Turkish gunships.
Russian warships PERMANENTLY placed near Syria
Syrian President Bashar Assad offered Russia and China $30 billion worth of government bonds
April 16, 2012 I am caught in a time warp. I have reported this 3 times now.
Russia funding Syrian war on its people
Assad not responsible for the safety of UN observers.
Russia sent warships to Syrian shores to secure the Assad regime.
Moscow announced a decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis. Ya think? http://debka.com/article/21917
Last edited by CJ on Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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