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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.