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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid