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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs