World News Brief, Wednesday April 27

Syria crackdown prompts West to consider sanctions and UN response (+ analysis); Yemen Opposition split over plans to remove Saleh; UN finds war crimes on both sides in Sri Lanakan war, 40,000 dead; Chernobyl remembered 25 years on; and more

Top of the Agenda: West Mulls Syrian Response

Western nations considered new measures of official condemnation following a widening crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's regime on reform activists in several Syrian cities. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are reported to be drafting a formal document at the UN (RFE/RFL) denouncing the recent violence, which has included the use of heavy military force and secret police. Reports claim that security forces killed at least thirty-nine people in the southern city of Deraa on April 25.

Leaders in Washington are unilaterally preparing new sanctions (Guardian) against the Syrian regime and are considering freezing assets of senior officials accused of human rights abuses. The US State Department advised all Americans to leave to Syria (BBC) and ordered the departure of some non-essential embassy staff members.

Analysts suggest Assad's use of military might, house-to-house raids, and mass arrests represent an escalation (NYT) in the government's crackdown on the five-week old uprising.


In the Wall Street Journal, Josef Joffe examines the motivations underlying the "Arab spring" and suggests the issue of Palestine has played almost no role in the ongoing unrest.

In this transcript from CFR, Mohamad Bazzi discusses the implications of the violent anti-government protests in Syria.

For al-Jazeera, M. Yaser Tabbara writes on the Syrian public's dissatisfaction with Assad's "illusions of reform" and the collective hope of an alternative to the current regime.


In this video from the Guardian, White House spokesman Jay Carney speaks on the new sanctions the White House is considering against Assad's regime.


PACIFIC RIM: Carter Arrives in North Korea

Former President Jimmy Carter and three European elder statesmen began a three-day visit to North Korea (Yonhap) to discuss a host of hot-button issues including denuclearization and human rights. Carter hopes to meet with Kim Jong-Il and his son, though a summit has yet to be confirmed.



- Yemen Opposition Backs GCC Deal
- Ukraine Honours Chernobyl After 25 years
- UN Finds War Crimes in Sri Lanka


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on