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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid