News / Middle East

Kerry Calls for 'Urgent' Syrian Peace Talks

U.N-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) speaks next to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, after their meeting at Winfield House, the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, in London, Oc. 14, 2013.
U.N-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) speaks next to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, after their meeting at Winfield House, the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, in London, Oc. 14, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria say an international conference to set up a Syrian transitional government must be organized urgently and held as soon as possible.

After talks Monday in London with Lakhdar Brahimi, Kerry said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has lost the legitimacy to be a cohesive force that could bring people together." He also called for a new government in Syria.

"It is clear that in implementing Geneva I, which is the only purpose for having a Geneva conference now, that there has to be a transition government," Kerry said. "There has to be a new governing entity in Syria in order to permit the possibility of peace."

Kerry added that it was imperative to get the so-called "Geneva II" conference organized by a mid-November target the United Nations has set.

Brahimi agreed, saying a precise date for the peace talks must be set "very soon."

A key opposition group, the Syrian National Council, said Sunday it would not take part and criticized the international community's response to the fighting.


  • Al-Bouydah, south of Damascus, after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, Oct. 17, 2013. (SANA)
  • Damage in a mosque in al-Bouydah, south of Damascus, after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, Oct. 17, 2013. (SANA)
  • Firefighters try to extinguish a fire after a mortar bomb landed in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • This image taken from video from the Shaam News Network shows smoke billowing amid buildings after a bomb explosion in Daraya, outside Damscus, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • Civilians gather at a site of a collapsed building that activists said was shelled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Deir al-Zor, October 14, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters fire anti-tank missiles during what they said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Hama countryside, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter reacts during what the FSA said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Hama countryside, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • This image made from citizen journalist video posted by the Shaam News Network shows the aftermath of a car bomb attack on a market in the town of Darkoush in Idlib province, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • People gather around the wreckage after two suicide car bombs exploded in the center of the Syrian capital Damascus, Oct. 13, 2013. (SANA)

Aid workers released

Meanwhile, aid officials said a Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer and three of six Red Cross staffers abducted in Syria are free and safe.

A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said the four were released in the Idlib region, but gave no details on their identities or circumstances of their liberation.  He said the ICRC was awaiting information on the remaining three.

Unidentified gunmen seized the aid workers in northwest Syria on Sunday as they were returning to Damascus after a four-day mission to deliver medical supplies in Idlib.

Kidnappings have become increasingly common in northern Syria, where rebel factions fighting the Syrian government have captured large areas.

Also Monday, activists said a car bomb exploded in the northern town of Darkoush near the Turkish border, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens of others. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast hit the town's market. There has been no claim of responsibility for the blast.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs