News / Middle East

    Kerry, Lavrov Confident About Syrian Peace Plan

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talk in Kiruna, Sweden, Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talk in Kiruna, Sweden, Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
    VOA News
    The United States and Russia say they believe they will soon convene peace talks to end the violence in Syria. At the United Nations, the General Assembly is expected to adopt a resolution Wednesday condemning the continued bloodshed there.
     
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a joint news conference in Sweden that both he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are "very, very hopeful" that plans to hold a June peace conference in Geneva are progressing.
     
    Lavrov agreed, saying Moscow and Washington are trying to mobilize support for the negotiations from Syria's government and opposition, as well as other countries concerned.
     
    Kerry said the peace drive is based a proposal announced last year for the creation of a transitional government in Syria "with full executive authority by mutual consent," ambiguous wording which deliberately leaves President Bashar al-Assad's future role unclear.
     
    UN vote

    Also Wednesday, the U.N. General Assembly will vote on a non-binding resolution that condemns Syrian authorities and accepts the opposition Syrian National Coalition as party to a potential political transition.
     
    The resolution, drafted by Qatar, notes the SNC's widespread international acceptance as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
     
    The resolution also demands that Syria give a United Nations team free access to investigate alleged uses of chemical weapons. That team - authorized by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - is ready to deploy, but Syria has not allowed them into the country.
     
    Russia opposes the resolution, and diplomats say the document is expected to earn less support than a previous resolution the General Assembly passed last August.

    • This citizen journalism image provided by ENN shows black smoke rising from what rebels say is a helicopter that was shot down at Abu Dhour military airbase, Idlib, Syria, May 17, 2013.
    • A Free Syrian Army member prays next to the grave of a fellow fighter in a cemetery in Deir el-Zor, May 16, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army members sit in a room inside a house in Deir el-Zor, May 16, 2013.
    • Crews demolish one of the damaged buildings at the site of the May 11 blast, in Reyhanli, Hatay province, May 15, 2013.
    • Members of the Free Syrian Army help a wounded fellow fighter in Deir al-Zor, May 14, 2013.
    • This image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC shows the mother of a Syrian rebel cleaning a rifle, in Aleppo, May 14, 2013.
    • Syrians wait to cross back into Syria at the Turkish Cilvegozu border crossing in Reyhanli, Hatay province, May 14, 2013.
    • A view of the damaged Khalid ibn al Walid Mosque in Homs, Syria, May 14, 2013.
    • Syrian army soldiers inspect a house as they advance in on the village of Western Dumayna, near the rebel held city of Qusayr, May 13, 2013.
    • This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center shows the famed 12th century Umayyad mosque in Aleppo, which was damaged by shelling, May 13, 2013.
     
    More violence

    Meanwhile, Syrian rebels launched a coordinated assault on the main prison in the northern city of Aleppo Wednesday in an attempt to free hundreds of government opponents being held there.
     
    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said anti-government fighters detonated two car bombs outside the compound before storming the compound.
     
    The Observatory said Aleppo's central prison is believed to be holding about 4,000 prisoners, including Islamists and common criminals.
     
    An Israeli army spokeswoman said two projectiles fired from Syria hit Israeli-occupied Mount Hermon on Wednesday morning without causing damage or injuries. The popular resort site was initially closed for visitors, but reopened later in the day.
     
    Syrian residents and a U.S. Internet monitoring company said Syria is experiencing a nationwide Internet outage. It is the second such cut-off in two weeks. 
     
    The U.S.-based Renesys Corp. said Syria went offline Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. local time.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ozrombayev from: Russia
    May 15, 2013 11:16 AM
    Russia will let Kerry and Obama play their silly games of pretending "progress" on Syria... but really nothing will change... Obama is a media creation - a dumn clown made of Papier Mache - Putin knows it, EU knows it, it seems that only Americans don't know it... Hey America, Bart Simpson is more real than Obama... keep your "affirmative action" and "social Promotion" - and you will destroy yourselves...

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora