Briefly

SYRIA

Syrian city under siege as U.N. urges action

BEIRUT | Syrian soldiers opened fire in the restive city of Homs on Tuesday, and armored vehicles rolled through its streets, activists said, as the U.N. secretary-general urged the world community to take action on Syria.

Ban Ki-moon delivered some of his strongest statements yet condemning the violence, saying President Bashar Assad must take “bold and decisive measures before it’s too late.”

“It’s already too late, in fact,” Mr. Ban said in New Zealand, where he was attending a meeting of Pacific leaders. “If it takes more and more days, then more people will be killed.”

The U.N. says 2,200 people have been killed since the Syrian uprising began in March, inspired by the revolutions sweeping the Arab world. But nearly six months later, the unrest in Syria has descended into a bloody stalemate with neither side willing to back down.

ARAB WORLD

Think tank: Islamists may join politics after Arab Spring

LONDON | Violent Islamist groups may take advantage of a security vacuum caused by the “Arab Spring” uprisings but are more likely to join the struggle for power under a new political order, experts said Tuesday.

A new report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) warned, however, that democracy is not an inevitable outcome of the popular revolts in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and across the wider Arab world.

At the launch of the think tank’s annual “Review of World Affairs,” senior IISS fellow Emile Hokayem said the downfall of tough regimes had provided an opening for violent Islamists.

“I’m not saying that terrorist activities will necessarily happen, but the collapse of security states is certainly something that creates an operational opportunity for these groups,” Mr. Hokayem told a press conference in London.

WEST BANK

Abbas talking with U.S., EU ahead of U.N. bid

RAMALLAH | Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is holding talks with U.S. and European envoys ahead of the Palestinian U.N. membership bid, a senior Palestinian official said Tuesday.

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