News / Middle East

    Deadlocks Remain as Syria Talks Break For Day

    U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Jan. 28, 2014.
    U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Jan. 28, 2014.
    Lisa Schlein
    Syrian peace negotiations broke off earlier than planned Tuesday amid mutual accusations and what the opposition delegation said were serious differences over the goal of the talks.

    United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said the talks remain deadlocked on crucial political and humanitarian issues
     
    Unlike previous days, Syrian government and opposition delegates held only one morning session.Brahimi said it was his decision to call off the afternoon meeting.  He said that the two sides intend to continue discussions until Friday as originally planned.
     
    “So, nobody is walking out," he said. "Nobody is running away…We have discussed quite a number of things.  So, you know, we have not achieved any breakthrough.  But, we are still at it and this is good enough as far as I’m concerned.” 
     
    It has taken the United Nations, United States, Russia and the European Union many months to get the Syrian government and rebels to come to the negotiating table.
     
    Although the two sides disagree on how to achieve peace for their war-torn country, they continue to sit at the same table. 

    Brahimi said the talks are not easy and he decided to cancel the Tuesday afternoon session so the parties could better prepare for Wednesday’s meeting.
     
    During the morning session, he says the opposition presented its vision on how to implement the Geneva 1 Declaration, which was agreed to in June 2012.  He sais the government did not present its view. 
     
    The Geneva 1 Declaration calls for the establishment of a transitional government in Syria.

    The rebels consider Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be illegitimate and do not want him included in a future transfer of power. Government representatives reject attempts to remove the Syrian president.
     
    Besides the political impasse, Brahimi said no agreement has been reached on the critical issue of bringing desperately needed aid to the besieged people of Homs.
     
    “The convoy is ready and still waiting to enter," he said. "The authorization has not been given yet.  We have not given up on that.  I am afraid that is all I can say for the moment.” 
     
    World Food Program spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs said WFP has trucks on standby to deliver food for trapped families in Homs if access is granted.  She said humanitarian deliveries to the old city have been impossible since the siege of the city began over one year ago.
     
    “Once all parties on the ground allow the interagency convoy to proceed, WFP will deliver 500 family rations, 500 bags of wheat flour, enough for 2,500 people for one month,” she said.

    Byrs said WFP also plans to send 100 boxes of a specialized nutrition product, which helps to treat stunting and acute malnutrition in children.

    Besides the critical situation in Homs, she said WFP is increasingly concerned about hundreds of thousands of people living in hard-to-reach areas across Syria with no access to food assistance.

    An opposition spokesman said the SNC is willing to lift a siege on three pro-government villages in the north of the country as part of a wider agreement to relieve besieged towns on both sides.

    But Louay al-Safi said Assad's government has not agreed to lift the siege on the rebel-held Old City of Homs, seen as crucial for the success of any deal.

    The governor of Homs province (Talal Barrazi) said Tuesday a United Nations official is contacting opposition fighters in besieged neighborhoods of the city to allow the evacuation of civilians.

    Syria's conflict began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad before spiraling into a civil war that the U.N. says has killed well over 100,000 people and forced nearly 9 million from their homes.

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of the city. They vow a siege will not be over quickly. But their plans are not being helped by squabbles breaking out among insurgent commanders.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Co-Ed Selective Service Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.