News / Middle East

Kerry: 11 Nations to Direct Syria Aid Through Rebel General

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, center, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib pose for photos after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, TurkU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, center, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib pose for photos after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turk
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, center, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib pose for photos after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turk
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, center, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib pose for photos after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turk
Dorian Jones
The U.S. secretary of state, wrapping up his visit to Istanbul, says an important breakthrough has been achieved among countries supporting the Syrian opposition.  

Secretary of State John Kerry described the agreement by 11 countries supporting the Syrian opposition to distribute all military aid and assistance through the leadership of General Salim Idris of the Free Syrian Army as a major breakthrough.

"I think that maybe one of the most important single things that was agreed on last night that can make a difference to the situation of the ground," said Kerry.
 
The agreement hammered out late on Saturday night in Istanbul by members of the "Friends of Syria" group is aimed at undermining the growing power of radical Jihadist groups affiliated with al-Qaida that are fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Secure control over the distribution of military aid is seen as important to help persuade European countries and Washington to ease an arms embargo against the rebel forces. Currently, Western countries are only supplying non-lethal aid to the opposition. Opponents of lifting the embargo have expressed fears that sophisticated weapons could end up in radical hands.

Israeli-Turkish relations were also on Secretary Kerry's agenda Sunday.  After a working lunch with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, Kerry pressed Ankara to build on U.S.-initiated rapprochement efforts between Turkey and Israel.  The United States brokered a diplomatic breakthrough in March with Israel apologizing to Turkey over the killing of nine Turks during a 2010 Israeli naval raid on a flotilla trying to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Kerry called on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan to reconsider a planned visit next month to meet with the Hamas leadership in Gaza.
 
"We have expressed to the prime minister that we really think it would be better delayed and should not take place at this time," said Kerry.

Kerry expressed concern the visit could harm his efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.  Erdogan's planned visit to Gaza is opposed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  Kerry said the issue could be raised when the Turkish prime minister visits Washington next month.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid