News / Middle East

    Syria: Report on Assad Quotes 'Inaccurate'

    FILE - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
    FILE - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
    VOA News
    Syrian state media have dismissed as "inaccurate" a report that President Bashar al-Assad told visiting Russian lawmakers he has no intention of giving up power and the issue is not up for discussion.

    The conflicting reports come just days ahead of an internationally sponsored peace conference on Syria.

    The Russian news agency Interfax had quoted Mr. Assad as saying "if we had wanted to give up, we would have surrendered from the start."

    "This issue is not up for discussion," he reportedly said Sunday in remarks translated into Russian.

    Syria's government and the opposition are due to participate in peace talks in Switzerland beginning Wednesday, with Mr. Assad's role in Syria's future expected to be a key stumbling block.

    • 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.

    The Geneva 2 meeting aims to create a transitional government with full executive powers.

    While few expect the talks will reach this goal, its supporters are hoping the discussions will at least result in increased humanitarian access and local cease-fires to make life easier for Syrian civilians.

    The Syrian National Coalition - the country's main political opposition grouping in exile - has agreed to attend the talks. A senior SNC official said its leadership will meet later Sunday in Istanbul to name members of the delegation.

    The Coalition was under huge pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to attend the peace talks and its decision to go was welcomed by the United States, Britain and Russia.

    But the SNC has little influence on the ground in Syria and many rebel military units have rejected its authority.

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

    Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: alhassan fofanah from: luanda angola
    January 22, 2014 2:47 AM
    dear voa,pleased tell the humanright lawyer to shutup, why cant he collect pictures from gtm prison were mass of abuse is happen everyday ,everyhour ,everyminite ,doublestandard,assad is fighing the same terrie help. tran ,and finance by usa, these guy will endup at your doorstep,the end will justifie the means.what goes around comes around,

    by: Anonymous
    January 20, 2014 6:28 PM
    No surprise to any of us but... Now he must be disabled.

    A team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has found "direct evidence" of "systematic torture and killing" by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the lawyers on the team say in a new report.

    Their report, based on thousands of photographs of dead bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody, would stand up in an international criminal tribunal, the group says.

    by: Nicholas A. Boateng from: Kumasi- Ghana
    January 19, 2014 7:30 PM
    Ban Ki Moon has woefully failed! He should bow down his head in shame! Innocent human beings are being butchered everyday, and the world body is just looking on, why? This animal called Assad is killing innocent women, children,and you are happy collecting your salaries every month! Wicked leaders !!!!

    by: Anonymous
    January 19, 2014 2:20 PM
    He has to be arrested for his crimes, that is all there is to it.
    Whether it be by the Syrians or the International Criminal Court, this guy killed tens of thousands of innocent unarmed civilians. It's time the world put the guy in cuffs and serve him his penalty. He has to pay for each and every Syrian he has murdered, period. The problem is, he doesn't see anything he has done (murdering unarmed men, women and children) as anything wrong. He now has to face those families now, in a judicial courtroom.

    He is most definately in hiding , and trying to use the SAA to protect himself from prosecution. He knows he did the crimes, he isn't that stupid. (Even though he actually believes his own lies).

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora