US envoy meets opposition in southern Syria

  • MH192’s number three main wheel burst during take off, says Hishammuddin – Bernama
    MH192’s number three main wheel burst during take off, says Hishammuddin – Bernama

    Preliminary investigation findings on the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH192 incident has revealed that the number three main wheel of the aircraft had burst during take off. Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic) said the aircraft was currently grounded at the MAS Engineering facility in Kuala Lumpur International... …

  • Bible banned from Pahang hotel rooms – Bernama

    The Pahang Islamic and Malay Customs Council (MAIP) has prohibited hotel proprietors in the state from placing religious reading materials of other religions other than Islam in their rooms. According to MAIP deputy president, Datuk Seri Wan Abdul Wahid Wan Hassan, a letter of prohibition on the matter had been sent to 147 hotels across the... …

  • Pre-lim report to ICAO not public, yet

    Malaysia has yet to decide on whether the preliminary report on the MH370 incident submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will be made public.   "We have issued the preliminary report. We've sent it to ICAO but we have not made a decision to release to media or the public," Department of Civil Aviation Chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.   Asked again on why it will not be released to public, although it is common practice, …

  • Take second job to tackle household debt, urges AKPK – Bernama
    Take second job to tackle household debt, urges AKPK – Bernama

    The Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) has urged Malaysians to take a second job to help them tackle the high rate of household debt. Chief executive officer Koid Swee Lian (pic) said those in the teaching line, for example, could give extra classes to earn more money. "Teachers could earn more money by giving tuition to... …

  • International team probing MH370 to be finalised next week, Hishammuddin says
    International team probing MH370 to be finalised next week, Hishammuddin says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Malaysia expects to finalise by next week the list of members on the independent team of experts commissioned by Putrajaya to carry out an extensive probe on the... …

  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders

    Malaysian leaders have been reminded not to look down on the public’s capability to topple a corrupt government as what had happened in the Middle East during the Arab spring, warned Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic). In his latest blog posting today, the country’s longest serving prime minister said that monarchs and dictators in the Middle East... …

The US ambassador to Syria met members of the opposition on a visit to the south of the country without government approval, as European powers ramped up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.

US officials said Robert Ford made the visit Tuesday to Jassem, which lies beyond a 25-kilometer (15-mile) limit from Damascus that the Syrians set after they were angered by a trip he made last month to the flashpoint city of Hama.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Ford informed the Syrian foreign ministry only after he returned to Damascus because three of his previous requests to travel beyond the limit were denied.

Nuland said Ford went to Jassem, some 65 kilometres (42 miles) south of Damascus, because there had been peaceful protests there.

"He had a chance there to talk to a number of Syrians, including those in the opposition. And then he drove back to Damascus," Nuland said.

A large number of security forces accompanied him and the foreign ministry was not surprised to learn of his visit, she said.

An embassy spokesman in Damascus who asked not to be named said Ford visited Jassem "as part of his routine diplomatic duties."

Jassem is in southern Daraa province, where the anti-regime protests first broke out in mid-March. According to activists 15 people were killed there on when security forces opened fire to crush a demonstration.

Ford in July angered Syrian authorities when he visited the central city of Hama, along with the French ambassador Eric Chevallier.

Damascus denounced the move as an incitement to violence and meddling in Syria's internal affairs, and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem warned Ford and Chevallier not to travel outside Damascus.

Asked if Ford was trying to get expelled, Nuland replied: "He is trying to do his job, which is to be able to maintain broad contacts with a broad cross-section of Syrians" and to make the US position known.

The visit came as France, Britain, Germany and Portugal proposed UN sanctions against Syria, targeting Assad personally for his crackdown on opposition protests, diplomats said.

A draft sanctions resolution, which has strong US backing and also calls for an arms embargo, was distributed to the 15-member council for the first time during consultations on the Syria crisis, envoys said.

The Syrian president has faced growing international criticism over the military assault against protests inspired by the Arab Spring, which is said to have killed more than 2,200 Syrian civilians.

The resolution would target individuals and entities considered responsible for the violence, a second diplomat said, confirming that Assad's name was on the resolution.

"It would aim to stop the government getting the means to carry out the violence," the diplomat added.

Western diplomats say they expect intense negotiations before calling for a vote.

Russia and China have opposed any threat of action against Syria, fearing it would pave the way for another Western military intervention like the one in Libya. India, Brazil and South Africa have also raised objections.

China and Russia also led opposition to a UN Human Rights Council resolution passed on Monday which called for a probe into violations, saying it was one-sided and politicized. India was amongst nine countries which abstained.

As permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia could veto any resolution.

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said ahead of Tuesday's meeting that it was not the right time to impose sanctions, and China said that it believed there should be more dialogue.

The European nations would have to win over one of the doubters if they hope to gain a convincing majority in any Security Council vote.

The Security Council has thus far only agreed to condemn the violence in Syria, which it did in a statement issued on August 3 following months of opposition from China, Russia and their council allies.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer The Malaysian Insider
    MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer

    The partner of an American passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has spoken about how a Fox executive who was recently sacked by the news station had contacted her offering to raise funds on her behalf. Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood is among the 239 people on board the missing plane, told the Sydney Morning Herald... …

  • The Poop on Pooping: 5 Misconceptions Explained

    Here is the truth behind five common misconceptions about defecating. Misconception No. 1: Daily pooping is normal, and optimal. …

  • Dr Ling’s son chose wine over woman, court hears The Malaysian Insider
    Dr Ling’s son chose wine over woman, court hears

    The son of former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik today reached an out of court settlement with his ex-girlfriend in a breach of contract suit over seven properties registered under their joint names. Ling Hee Leong and businesswoman Teh Chee Yen agreed to settle out of court after he took the stand briefly and testified that he had chosen... …