News / Europe

    Britain, Russia Agree on 'Urgent' Push for Syrian Talks

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speak to media after their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, May 10, 2013.
    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speak to media after their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, May 10, 2013.
    VOA News
    British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin say they are committed to working together to end the bloodshed in Syria.

    The two leaders met Friday in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, with Cameron telling reporters Britain, Russia and the United States "urgently have to do more" because "the history of Syria is being written in the blood of her people."

    The British prime minister also strongly endorsed an agreement earlier this week between the United States and Russia to press for peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups at an international conference.

    Putin said he and Cameron discussed "a number of possible joint steps" to end the conflict.

    At least 70,000 people have been killed in the ongoing fighting between the Syrian government and rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime Russian ally.

    Cameron said despite differences with Moscow, both countries agree on the need to "help shape transitional government that all Syrians can trust to protect them."

    Also Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for urgent action.

    Navi Pillay said images from a suspected massacre in the western Syrian village of Bayda are appalling and "seem to indicate a campaign targeting specific communities perceived to be supportive of the opposition."

    Pillay also expressed concern about what appears to be a major military buildup near the western town of Qusayr, warning there could be more atrocities if the area is overrun.

    Syrian opposition groups last week accused Syrian forces loyal to Mr. Assad of killing at least 150 civilians, including women and children, in the village of Bayda.  Bayda is mainly inhabited by Sunni Muslims who dominate the country's rebel movement.

    The U.S. State Department said Washington was "appalled by horrific reports" of the many civilians killed in the attack and condemned the "atrocities."

    Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told U.S. broadcaster NBC News "it is clear" Syrian President Assad has used chemical weapons against opposition forces.  Mr. Erdogan said, the regime has "used about 200 missiles according to our intelligence and it can be even more but not less.''

    Clashes continued to break out across Syria. The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition activist group, said at least 22 people were killed in fighting early Friday in the capital of Damascus and the central city of Homs, as well as Aleppo, Hama, and Daraa.

    Also Friday, amateur video posted on the Internet by opposition activists claimed to show dozens of people wading through a river to escape fighting in the central Syrian town of Halfayeh. A voice, off camera, said the people were fleeing to ``escape a massacre'' by government forces.

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    by: Ludmilla Kobskya from: USA
    May 12, 2013 8:07 PM
    I love the Russian RT tv BS... to see them straining with resentment and envy at the US/Israel intelligence... issuing veiled threats and half hearted complements... straining themselves to sound conscientious - the protectors of humane treatment and elevated values... yeah sure... LOL

    by: gig24
    May 12, 2013 7:18 PM
    Some 2 Years ago "Assad has to go" e.g.Hillary Clinton and others.Now ,he is still there,this means a lot !It means,he belongs there.Here is the resolve,similar to Kosovo after the gun's smoke cleared. Establishe Sectors of security ,Russia ,Israel ,Turkey,Jordania(USA ,since US forces are staged with them).Let the refugees settle(repatriate) again into their geographical locaions.See what we got,adjustments can be hammered out peacefully,let their voices be heard,and eg if nobody seeks security given by Israel ,let them withdraw accordingly .Same for Turkey. Maybe Syria becomes a new geographical shape,but important is,the war can come to an end.

    by: Clarity
    May 12, 2013 9:53 AM
    Prompt decisive action is required to prevent the escalating loss of lives in Syria, something that cannot be allowed to reach those lost in Nigeria, circa 1967-1970. Sitting down then just didnt work did it?

    by: Nigel from: UK
    May 12, 2013 3:08 AM
    to all the Russians here... if the Israelis call the British SAS excellent professionals - than the SAS are excellent professional. PERIOD!!!

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    May 11, 2013 9:01 AM
    One does not understand what the war in Syria is all about. Once I said on this column that Mubarak of Egypt was about the last of the sane heads in leadership of countries in the Middle East outside Israel, but USA made sure he was removed. Today the Egyptians are calling for his return, and the international community is seeing another Iran in the making at the auspices of US-trained Morsi. Now who's worried after Morsi has turned Egypt into another hell on earth for everybody? The removal of Assad cannot be a sane decision. Israel being used as a proxy of the West to indict Assad does not favor anyone either. I heard Erdogan scream foul at Israel striking the chemical weapons site that might be transfered to Hezbollah. Now Turkey is the one accusing Assad of using chemical weapons on his citizens. Haba! Who's fooling who? Russia should stand its ground to ensure this injustice is not carried out against Syria and its people. It is not right to force Assad out of power against the wishes of its people. The few loud voices of opposition should not deceive us. What Syria needs is a peaceful resolution of the crisis that the opposition started. And there is no peace except the people sit down to discuss their own way to it. Assad is a Syrian and must be included in every conflict resolution out there. Then and only then will democracy be at work in crisis management in Syria. We should not be overwhelmed because of the involvement of the man from Iran, after all he leaves sometime soon. Please let Assad be. At least he has a cool head even if he's a friend to Amhadinejad.

    by: Super Star
    May 11, 2013 12:30 AM
    It would be interesting to note how much military hardware has been supplied to Syria by Iran, Russia and other Countries, over the duration of President Assad's tenure in office and where he
    had military training, prior to assuming power, a fact overlooked by many, who dont know his background.

    by: Tomlin from: Russia
    May 10, 2013 5:00 PM
    hey Cameron... maybe the SAS - Special Hair Service - can tape a film where they remove Assad by force... maybe that will scare the Syrians... ha? SAS... give me a break... they are good against Argentinian school kids... but if you put them in the Middle East...

    by: Ivgeny from: Russia
    May 10, 2013 4:21 PM
    priceless expression!!! Putin sees through this treacherous liar from Londonistan

    by: Gen. Ivgeny Kutzov from: Russia
    May 10, 2013 12:42 PM
    you've got to love Putin's expression... Britain has been trying to remove Assad from power by force to satisfy Saudi Arabia condition for cheap oil... the British treachery is global... they have been trying to fool the Americans to issue orders to the Israelis to decapitate the Assad regime... but the Americans see through the British treachery.
    Hey Cameron, you want to remove Assad, try to do it yourself... and don't forget the Syrians are not the Irish or the Argentinians... the Middle East is the "super-ball" of Military operations...

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