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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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 Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More