News / Middle East

Kerry: Syria Faces More War, Implosion if Assad Stays

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, gestures as he speaks to the media during a joint press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled Al Attiyeh after a meeting with the Arab League in Paris, Oct. 21, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, gestures as he speaks to the media during a joint press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled Al Attiyeh after a meeting with the Arab League in Paris, Oct. 21, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says there can be no peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria as long as President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

Kerry spoke Monday after meeting separately with Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah and with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, responding to reports that Assad intends to run for re-election next year.

"Now I don't know anyone who believes the opposition will ever consent to Bashar al-Assad being part of that [transitional] government," Kerry said. "And if he [Bashar al-Assad] thinks he's going to solve problems by running for re-election I can say to him, I think with certainty, this war will not end as long as that's the case or he [Assad] is there."  

Kerry travels to London Tuesday for a meeting with other core members of the Friends of Syria and the Syrian opposition.

The talks come as efforts continue to convene a long-sought Syrian peace conference that would bring together Syria's government and the opposition with a goal of negotiating a political settlement to the country's crisis.

Kerry called the need for such a conference urgent.

"There are more and more refugees, more and more displaced people, more and more destruction and the potential for the absolute implosion of the state of Syria is what lies in front of everybody if there cannot be a negotiated solution," he said.

Officials have given conflicting signals in the past week about whether a date for the talks has been set.  U.S. officials say they hope the conference can take place as soon as late November.

Setting a date will likely be up to United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.  He gave a somber assessment of the situation in Syria during a stop in Baghdad Monday.

''The Syrian crisis is too serious and dangerous not only for the Syrian people but the region and world alike," Brahimi said. "I think all people, who are concerned with the affairs of the region, have unanimously agreed that the Syrian crisis is the most serious one in the world and it threatens world peace and stability. In fact, the international community is too late to offer help to the Syrian people.''    

Opposition leaders have threatened to boycott the proposed peace conference unless President Assad agrees to step down. Assad insists he will remain in office until his term ends in 2014, and possibly seek re-election as well.

Tuesday's meeting in London will bring together officials from Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, opposition activists and state media say a senior commander in the rebel Free Syrian Army has been killed.  Yasser al-Abboud was reportedly killed Monday while participating in an attack on government forces in the town of Tafas.

Al-Abboud was one of the first high-ranking military officials to publicly defect from the regime and join the rebels.

The fighting in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people and forced millions from their homes since March 2011.

Watch related video from VOA's Scott Stearns:

Kerry Returns to Europe for Syria Talksi
X
October 21, 2013 6:26 AM
A truck bomb explosion in Syria's fourth largest city of Hama killed more than 30 people Sunday, as the special envoy of the United Nations and Arab League held talks in Cairo on fixing a date for a long-delayed peace conference.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs