News / USA

Syrian Opposition Disputes Prevent Decision on Peace Talks

Louay al-Safi, spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition (L), speaks during a news conference in Istanbul May 26, 2013.
Louay al-Safi, spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition (L), speaks during a news conference in Istanbul May 26, 2013.
VOA News
Syria's main opposition coalition has held an unscheduled fourth day of meetings in Istanbul (Turkey) as internal disputes prevent it from deciding whether to join a U.S. and Russian-backed peace conference with Damascus.

Syrian National Coalition members on Sunday said the main dispute concerns whether to grant Saudi Arabia a bigger role in the group, by expanding its membership to include Saudi-backed opposition figures such as veteran dissident Michel Kilo. They said the Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood faction of the coalition is resisting such an expansion.

Qatar has exerted a greater influence over the Syrian opposition coalition to date, by acting as a chief contributor of money and weapons to rebels fighting a two-year rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian opposition sources said that if the coalition can agree on an expanded membership, it also must decide the fate of its prime minister Ghassan Hitto, who has not been able to form a provisional government for Syria. They said resolving the leadership and membership issues would allow the coalition to respond formally to the U.S. and Russian plan for a Syrian peace conference in Geneva next month.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said Sunday his government has agreed "in principle" to attend the proposed conference, calling it "a good opportunity to resolve the Syrian crisis."

Washington and Moscow have said they want the Assad government and the opposition to negotiate the formation of a transitional government that would lead Syria out of its civil war, which has killed more than 80,000 people.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are due to meet in Paris Monday to discuss how to move forward with the peace conference.

Syrian government forces have been fighting to recapture the strategic rebel town of Qusair in recent days in an apparent bid to strengthen Mr. Assad's position ahead of peace talks.

An amateur video posted to the Internet Sunday showed a purported Syrian government air strike on Qusair. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighting in Qusair killed at least 27 rebels and three civilians on Saturday.

Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah militants have unleashed heavy artillery and tank fire on the Sunni Muslim town near the Lebanese border. Qusair's capture would mark a significant victory for Mr. Assad because it is located along a highway linking Damascus to the Mediterranean coast, a stronghold of his minority Alawite sect.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Naseer Ahmad from: Kabul
May 29, 2013 12:57 AM
Two years ago Syria was a peaceful country. most people in the Islamic countries think that why such a devastating war begun in the Syria and who support and benefit this war. Bashar doesnt know what he is doing. He lets Syria to be devastated and its resorces be lost. At the end there will be a destroied country with a tired, damaged and needy people. If the government and rebel know that they are misusing and they are heading wrong direction they can rescue there country.

by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
May 27, 2013 2:01 AM
This is very sad situation. I have mentioned in my previous comments that opposition main target to capture power and then enjoy their life with the blessing of west. They do not have brain to think how to solve Syrian problems. They are just united because of backing of west with DOLLAR and weapons to change regime and that is all. Do yo think this is not terrorism, because this is supported by west so this is not terrorism, this is freedom fight for POOR SYRIAN PEOPLES.Just to obtain our personal goals we did this drama and not for syrian peoples this is very sad story.

History will record all these acts and all these MAIN characters will remain in hell because MY GOD knows the true story behind this big drame for more then three years. MY GOD will not make any mistake in judgement and he will give award according to our acts in this world.Can we live without water and electricity.........BIG NO. This opposition who is holding this conference in complete ac hotel with complete security can imagine problem of syrian peoples never ever. They are working on west agenda to destroy syria completely and then they will start with IRAN. Because IRAN never take dictation like SAUDI ARABIA, QATAR,UAE, BAHRAIN,KUWAIT and so many ideal puppel govt to serve west interest in their region.
In Response

by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester UK
May 27, 2013 8:03 AM
Trust me, most people in the West do not want involvement in Syria. They did not want involvement in Iraq or Libya. Even the minority that do are simply making that decision based on an uncritical acceptance of the simplistic good versus bad rhetoric of populist politicians and mainstream media. There is no democratic mechanism here in the West by which changes in our disgraceful and murderous foreign policy can be changed. The only issues upon which we seem to be able to vote upon every four or five years is the colour of the tie our next bunch of dictators wear!

Democracy is a sham here, hijacked by those made powerful by an economic system in which there is no negative feedback function so, the rich simply get more rich, more powerful, and increasingly able to increasingly distort the law and decision-making process for their own benefit. They get away with it because they are much more devious, mendacious and sophisticated in their control than the Disneyesque puppets like Hussein and Assad they create to make war with.

I'm not a believer in God myself but, if I were I'd believe in the Devil too and, I'd suspect we're living in a world in which money and power has led to it being ruled and run by devils and, that being the case, I could only hope you're right and, in some other spiritual dimension, these truly inhuman people are judged and punished accordingly.


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
May 26, 2013 8:31 PM
The continued inability of the opposition to unite, just shows that they lack credibility. While they are looking after their own selfish standing, thousands of Syrians are dying. If after 80,000 dead, mostly massacred Sunni civilians, by Assad's big weapons, this opposition can't get its political act together, one can only classify them as a bunch of uncaring people, that do not understand, nor have the most rudimentary, or most basic leadership attributes. One can only feel great pity, for the poor civilians, in Syria, that they have such bad luck, not just because of the civil war, but because of such poor quality leaders. In reality, only a negotiated settlement, starting with a ceasefire, may bring the terrible civil war to an end soon; the alternative is a continuation of the bloodshed and suffering. This failure to have a credible political leadership, to address the US/Russia peace initiative, is going to cost further support for the opposition's end objectives. Very sad situation for Syrian civilians.

by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester UK
May 26, 2013 8:01 PM
Last month, sympathisers of these Syrian 'rebels' detonated a bomb in Boston killing and maiming many innocent people.

Two weeks ago I see verified footage of 'rebel' commander Abu Sakkar cutting out and eating the very heart from a dead Syrian soldier.

Last week I see two Islamist militants, sympathetic to 'Rebel' groups in Syria, kill -then butcher- a young man in the daylit London street.

Now I read that these same 'Rebel' factions are so divided that they can't even manage agreement to ATTEND talks!

And that this ragtag, motley collection of unknowns which include spivs, terrorists, cut-throats and war-criminals are being supported, armed and given the opportunity to control an entire sovereign nation on the very borders of Europe makes me wonder for the sanity of the politicians we have given the authority to 'lead' us.

by: Don wv from: US
May 26, 2013 7:15 PM
Syrian rebels will never join any peace plan! As a peace plan would give the Syrian people a vote and a voice. The rebels (aka terrorist) wants a dictator like in Egypt!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs