News / Middle East

Syria Ready for Ceasefire in Aleppo

FILE - Syrian National Coalition Chief Ahmad al-Jarba, left, listens to US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, during the start of their meeting at the US Ambassador residence in Paris, France, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.
FILE - Syrian National Coalition Chief Ahmad al-Jarba, left, listens to US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, during the start of their meeting at the US Ambassador residence in Paris, France, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.
VOA News
Syria's government says it has given Russia a plan for a cease-fire in the country's largest city of Aleppo and an exchange of prisoners with Syrian rebels.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said during his visit to Moscow Friday he had turned over the proposals in preparation for next week's peace talks with rebels.

The move comes as Syria's main Western-backed opposition coalition is meeting in Istanbul to vote on whether to attend next week's peace talks in Geneva.

Opposition leaders so far have refused to attend talks without a prior commitment that President Bashar al-Assad will step down.

The Syrian National Coalition is under heavy U.S. pressure to attend the conference, which is aimed at forming a transitional government.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said the talks are the "best opportunity for the opposition to achieve the goals of the Syrian people and the revolution."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Jan. 16, 2014.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Jan. 16, 2014.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Jan. 16, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Jan. 16, 2014.
Kerry also warned the Syrian president Friday the U.S. is not out of options to pressure his government to comply with the goals set in the first Geneva conference.

"They can bluster.  They can protest.  They can put out distortions.  The bottom line is we are going to Geneva to implement Geneva 1.  And if Assad doesn't do that, he will invoke a greater response in various ways from various people over a period of time," said Kerry.

The Syrian government considers all rebel forces to be terrorists, and has tried to shift the focus of the proposed peace talks from forming a new government to fighting extremism.

The fighting is raging in Syria's northwest, with the conflict spilling over into Lebanon.  Rocket fire in Lebanese border towns killed seven people on Friday.

Speaking after a trip to a Syrian refugee camp in Iraq, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the U.N. General Assembly Friday the Syrian people need peace and depend on the U.N.'s solidarity for survival.

He said the U.N. is "intensifying efforts" to bring the parties together in Geneva next week and is pressing for the sides to move to a transitional governing body to stop the violence.
 
Syrian Foreign Minister Moallem confirmed Friday that Damascus will attend the January 22 conference.

"As I already confirmed yesterday, the Syrian delegation will go to Geneva, as we believe that a peace settlement is the only way out of the conflict in Syria," said Moallem.

Moallem also shot back at Washington, which he said was "supporting terrorist groups" in Syria's civil war.

Kerry said Thursday the U.S. also is concerned about the rise of extremism in Syria, but insisted Damascus is to blame for the unrest that has left over 120,000 people dead.
  • Fighters from the Free Syrian Army's Saif al-Umayyad brigade prepare rockets to be launched towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Jan. 16, 2014.
  • Men ride a motorbike past buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Smoke rises from buildings after what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk at the Tameko pharmaceutical factory after the FSA claimed to have taken control of the factory, in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • A girl carries her belongings as she walks on rubble at a site hit by what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Arbeen, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • This SANA photo shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking to female preachers from mosques in Damascus and its countryside and educators of religious high schools and institutes in Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • Syrian refugees wait to enter Turkey on the Syrian-Turkish border in Shamm Alqrain village, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • Smoke rises from what activists said were explosive barrels thrown from helicopters on Daria outside Damascus, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • Damaged buildings are pictured in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • Residents inspect the damage caused by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant suicide bombers at the Tawhid Brigade and Al-Fateh brigade headquarters in Aleppo, Jan. 12, 2014.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs