News / Middle East

Britain Pushing Harder for International Resolution in Syria

Selah Hennessy
As opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meet in Doha, Britain is pushing for greater international involvement in the ongoing crisis in Syria. Some analysts say that pursuing a political solution, rather than a military one, is Britain's best play for Syria.

In Jordan, British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Syrians in Zaatari camp, which houses about 30,000 refugees, and he said the international community needs to put a new focus on solving Syria's conflict.

"We want Assad to go. We want to see a peaceful, political transition and a safe country for the future. But right now, the international community has to recognize, that what we have done is not enough," said Cameron.

While on a trip to Thailand, Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, presented a written statement to the British parliament that Britain will begin talks with the armed opposition in Syria. But he said the rebels will not be supplied with arms.

Diplomacy has been largely fruitless, with Syria's allies at the U.N. Security Council, Russia and China, repeatedly blocking attempts to hit Syria with tougher sanctions.

In a televised interview that aired Friday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned the international community against getting involved.

"It is not about reconciling with the people, and it is not about reconciliation between the Syrians and the Syrians; we do not have a civil war," said Assad. "It is about terrorism and the support coming from abroad to terrorists to destabilize Syria. This is our war."

Alia Brahimi, from the London School of Economics, said if Britain does want to help resolve the crisis in Syria, it should focus on the political rather than the military approach.

"To look at extending intense and perhaps military support to the armed opposition in Syria is very dangerous because that kind of effort so far, particularly on the part of some Gulf countries, has only led to the exacerbation of the conflict," said Brahimi.

A video, which cannot be independently verified, appears to show clashes in Aleppo in northwestern Syria, part of escalating violence.  

As battles continue inside Syria, the Syrian opposition has been holding talks in Qatar aimed at forming a political alternative to Assad's rule. Up until now, sharp divisions within the opposition have hampered attempts to oust Assad.

Forming a united political front may be the only chance to bring peace to Syria, though, according to Michael Kerr, of King's College London.

"At the minute China and Russia are resisting any efforts to push Assad out without something that will replace him that does not negate their interests in Syria," said Kerr.

Britain and its Western allies are banking that replacement can come out of the opposition meeting in Doha. Until then, thousands of Syrians continue to flee into neighboring countries.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Grin Olsson from: Alaska, USA
November 10, 2012 6:44 AM
The situation in Syria is tragic. As an American I'm concerned over requests for United Nations and Western intervention where two different ideologies of "Islam" is at hand, yet, when the clashes are between nations of Islam and secular or Christians, there is no request or help from Islamic nations to stop the violence.

Another issue is that the Sunni rebels are being supported by Qatar and Saudi Arabia the very same nations whose citizens bombed American soil at 9/11. Maybe the West is on the wrong side in this conflict as the Syrian govern is secular and protects all Islamic faiths including Christians and Kurds.

Maybe someone can enlighten me?

by: Anonymous
November 10, 2012 12:09 AM
The only way Assad would leave Syria is if he was either a) killed or b) pulled by the hair physically.

Assad doesn't care one bit about the country of Syria. Calling the civillians terrorists, blaming the west, and denying atrocities commited by his regime are the only thing he can do to try and stay in Syria a bit longer. It isnt working, everyday the hatred for Assad is growing more and more by not only Syrian Civillians but also people worldwide.

When Assad gets captured and if he gets a trial and sentenced in Syria lets just hope it is a Syrian Sword that serves his justice.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs