Saturday, June 23, 2018

Syrians rally amid heavy military presence

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Tens of thousands of re-energized opponents of the Syrian government gathered Friday for demonstrations on a second day marked by relatively low levels of violence, but the U.N. Security Council was unable to agree on a mission to monitor further implementation of a peace plan.

The protests that now habitually take place after Friday prayers were much anticipated this week, coming 36 hours after a cease-fire mandated in the plan put forward last month by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, which also requires the government to allow peaceful demonstrations of dissent.

The plan has been endorsed by Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies in Russia and China, as well as Western nations that have called for him to step down. However, a heavy military presence Friday thwarted major protests in most cities, and eight civilians were killed across the country by security forces, according to a spokesman for the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The plan's requirements appeared to have been violated by armed members of the opposition as well as by security forces, with two soldiers reportedly killed in an attack near Hama. The information was not possible to verify.

U.N. officials and Western diplomats had hoped that even a partial cease-fire would allow progress on the rest of Annan's six-point proposal, which includes clauses obligating the Assad government to allow humanitarian aid, foreign journalists and U.N. monitors to enter Syria.

But the U.N. Security Council failed to agree Friday on a resolution that would include sending an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to the country, with plans to increase the number to 250 later. The debate stalled as Syria's ally Russia proposed less-stringent wording.

Comments
FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

A Clearwater man who authorities said sideswiped a car while driving more than 100 miles per hour the wrong way on U.S. 41 was arrested Friday. Wendel Jamel James, 35, is charged with DUI with property damage, reckless driving and leaving the scene ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
‘Notorious RBG’ wanted to be a singer. Now, a CD celebrates her life.

‘Notorious RBG’ wanted to be a singer. Now, a CD celebrates her life.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said, in interviews, that she would have loved to have been an opera singer.She has certainly become a fixture at many opera houses around the country: She is often spotted in the audience; she sometimes presides...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Besides the continual evolution of their intriguing pitching plan, the primary topics of conversation for the Rays over the next several weeks will be trades and prospects. And not mutually exclusively.Some sooner than others, the Rays are going to c...
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 12:00 p.m. EDT

AP Top News at 12:00 p.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago
Romney making final pitch ahead of Senate primary in Utah

Romney making final pitch ahead of Senate primary in Utah

Mitt Romney is flashing his familiar smile at city parks and backyards in Utah's mountains and suburbs this week, making his final pitch before Tuesday's Senate primary
Updated: 1 hour ago

Minnesota GOP chair says she faced racism from within party

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan says she has been the target of racist and sexist attacks from fellow Republicans
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Mexico in control at half against South Korea

The Latest: Mexico in control at half against South Korea

Mexico is in nearly complete control over South Korea at halftime despite just a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Carlos Vela penalty kick.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hamilton secures record-extending 75th pole at French GP

Hamilton secures record-extending 75th pole at French GP

Lewis Hamilton secured a record-extending 75th pole position at Formula One's French Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

A memorial will be unveiled Saturday in Valdez, Alaska, honoring four Alaska National Guard members killed during a humanitarian mission in 1964
Updated: 1 hour ago
Vinnie Paul, co-founder, drummer of Pantera, dies at 54

Vinnie Paul, co-founder, drummer of Pantera, dies at 54

Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of metal band Pantera, has died at 54.
Updated: 1 hour ago