News / Europe

    Kerry: US Hopes for Peaceful Syria Solution

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, enters a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey, on March 1, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, enters a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey, on March 1, 2013.
    VOA News
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry criticized what he called the atrocities of the Syrian regime Friday, but said the United States still hopes for a peaceful solution. Kerry spoke in Ankara following a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

    "We would like to save lives, not see them caught up in a continued war," Kerry said. "But we are clear about whom we support in the effort to restore freedom and unity to the people of Syria."

    The United States and its Western allies pledged new aid to the Syrian opposition coalition Thursday following a Friends of Syria meeting in Rome. The pledge includes $60 million in immediate aid, providing food, medical supplies and "direct, non-lethal aid" to rebel military forces.

    Syrian rebel chief Salim Idris says his fighters need weapons from the United States, not food and bandages.


    Idris told The Associated Press that he needs anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to stop President Bashar al-Assad's forces from annihilating the Syrian people. He said the non-lethal aid the United States plans to send to the rebels will not bring them any closer to victory.


    Picture gallery of first overseas trip of Kerry as Secretary of State
    • Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Qatar crown prince, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, start their meeting at the Prince's Sea Palace residence in Doha, Qatar, March 5, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is met by Qatari Chief of Protocol Abdullah Fakhroo and Qatari Ambassador to the U.S. Mohamed al-Rumaihi at Doha International Airport, March 5, 2013.
    • The red carpet is rolled up after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry boarded his plane to leave Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on his way to the final destination of Qatar, March 5, 2013.
    • Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan invites U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to pose with him for a photograph before their dinner meeting at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 4, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 3, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, March 3, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends an Antikabir Wreath Laying ceremony at the Tomb of Ataturk in Ankara, Turkey, March 2, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holds a news conference with Syrian National Coalition Chairman Mouaz al-Khatib and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi at Villa Madama in Rome, Feb. 28, 2013.
    • A peace activist protests at the end of statements given by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Syrian National Coalition President Mouaz al-Khatib at Villa Madama in Rome, Feb. 28, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Feb. 27, 2013.
    • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gestures while standing with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 26, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to the media at the Chancellery in Berlin, Feb. 26, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with the children of U.S. embassy staff in Berlin, Feb. 26, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London, Feb. 25, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits with the traveling media aboard a plane en route to London on his inaugural trip as secretary, Feb. 24, 2013.

    The White House says President Barack Obama telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday to talk about Syria and other issues. It said the two presidents agreed it is important for Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to continue to stay engaged on Syria.

    During a European tour this week, Kerry warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that time for a peaceful solution is running out.

    "The international community is not going to stand for Scuds [missiles] being fired indiscriminately against innocent civilians - women and children, young people - destroying the cities of Syria," he said. "That is unacceptable."

    Kerry praised Turkey for its humanitarian efforts in helping Syrian refugees.

    Earlier Friday, Russia said the decisions made at the Friends of Syria meeting won't help end the nearly two-year-long civil war.

    Russia's foreign ministry said the decisions announced at the meeting in Rome would "directly encourage extremists" to seek power in Syria.

    Opposition groups Friday reported fresh violence across Syria.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the bodies of 10 men were found dumped near a farm outside the the capital, Damascus. It says one man was decapitated and others were shot in the head. Their identities are not known.

    The group also says fights broke out Friday in several contested areas of Aleppo and the Reef Dimashq and Hama provinces. None of the reports could be confirmed.

    Kerry did not comment on the renewed reports of violence, but reiterated that the current situation cannot continue.

    "There is no legitimacy in a regime that commits atrocities against its own people," Kerry said. "And we need to continue the work to make certain that the Assad regime makes a different set of choices."

    Gallery of latest photos from Syria

    • Demonstrators chant slogans and wave Syrian opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Bustan al-Qasr district, Aleppo, Syria, March 1, 2013.
    • A man sells gas stoves in Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 28, 2013. 
    • A child looks out of a window in Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 28, 2013.
    • Men ride a scooter past buildings damaged by shelling from Syrian forces, Maarat al-Nuaman, Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 26, 2013.
    • A citizen journalism image provided by the Aleppo Media Center, AMC, shows people searching the rubble after houses were hit by a missile fired by Syrian government forces in Ard Al-Hamra, Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 26, 2013.
    • A boy walks past members of an Islamist group as they hold flags during a protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Deir el-Zor, Syria, Feb. 25, 2013.
    • Destruction and debris are seen in Al-Suwayqa, Aleppo after forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad captured the area from the Free Syrian Army, Feb. 25, 2013.
    • Ammunition that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad say belonged to the Free Syrian Army is seen in Al-Suwayqa, Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 25, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons and deploy after they seized control of the government's 80th Brigade's base near Aleppo International Airport, Feb. 23, 2013. 
    • A view shows military vehicles which belonged to forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad forces at 80th Brigade's base after it was seized, Feb. 23, 2013.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ali baba from: new york
    March 02, 2013 12:06 PM
    Mr. Kerry .there is no white charismas in Syria. the Syrian conflict will not solve peacefully. you do not know the mind of Arab. the desire of revenge is running in the vain .if one group is defeated .the group who win ,will slaughter the other as a sheep.us has to stay away that conflict.US. has budget crisis and Us has to stop spending money in middle east .let them resolve their conflict with their means

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