News / Middle East

Kerry Travels to Turkey for Syrian Opposition Meeting

Kerry Travels to Turkey for Syrian Opposition Meetingi
X
April 19, 2013 11:55 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Turkey Saturday for a meeting of foreign ministers who back opposition groups fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.
Kerry Travels to Turkey for Syrian Opposition Meeting
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Turkey Saturday for a meeting of foreign ministers who back opposition groups fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The issue of refugees will be high on the meeting's agenda as Syrian government attacks continue to drive people across the border into Jordan.

"You can imagine the destabilizing impact and the problem for the Jordanians, who have other issues and challenges economically. So this is a big deal," said Kerry.

It is one of the challenges foreign ministers will address at the next round of talks with Syrian opposition leaders in Istanbul.

"We need a lot of assistance. We need military help. We need humanitarian help. We need all sorts of help to get on the ground and get started in serving the Syrian people," said opposition Prime Minister Ghassan Hitto.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says countries such as the United States that support the opposition are only making things worse.

"In any conflict, if there's a mechanism that isolates one of the sides of the conflict or is aimed at isolating one of the sides then we just lose an opportunity for a dialogue or any solution to be found," he said.

U.S. Institute for Peace analyst Steve Heydemann says Washington is coming to realize that its former approach to the conflict has failed.

"Under the old policy," he said, "we could not even provide training to brigade commanders in international humanitarian law in the hope that they would develop some tools for preventing the fighters under their command from doing things like torturing prisoners or executing prisoners. I think it it helpful if we can provide that kind of training."

Secretary Kerry says more direct U.S. assistance to rebels is meant to push a negotiated settlement and prevent the implosion of the Syrian state.

"The best shot at preventing it is to try to get to the negotiating table to get the Geneva communique implemented so that you can save the institutions of the state, not wind up with an enclave state with huge instability and problems with extremist groups that have grown stronger as a result of this conflict," said Kerry.

But so far the United States has not provided weapons to the opposition.

"There continues to be an enormous degree of reluctance to get into the business of arming rebel groups on the ground in Syria. There continues to be concern that we have little control over who those weapons might go to," explained U.S. Institute for Peace analyst Steve Heydemann.

U.S. allies Britain and France favor arming the rebels, with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius saying that would show Assad that he cannot win.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid