News / Middle East

Obama, National Security Team Meet on Syria

FILE - President Barack Obama speaks at the White House, Aug. 9, 2013. FILE - President Barack Obama speaks at the White House, Aug. 9, 2013.
x
FILE - President Barack Obama speaks at the White House, Aug. 9, 2013.
FILE - President Barack Obama speaks at the White House, Aug. 9, 2013.
VOA News
Top U.S. military and national security advisors have presented President Barack Obama with a detailed set of options for responding to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons.

The White House, in a statement Saturday, said the meeting was called to set an action plan -- if it is determined Syrian forces used chemical weapons against civilians, as aid workers and rebels allege.

The statement also said the president conferred Saturday with British Prime Minister David Cameron, as the U.S. intelligence community continues to gather facts on the alleged chemical warfare. Both men voiced "grave concern" about the weapons allegations.

The White House security meeting, attended by Vice President Joe Biden, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Advisor Susan Rice -- comes just days after accusations that more than 1,000 people were killed near Damascus in a chemical weapons attack.

A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen, Aug. 21, 2013.A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen, Aug. 21, 2013.
x
A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen, Aug. 21, 2013.
A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen, Aug. 21, 2013.
The international medical relief group Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, said Saturday three Damascus hospitals have received about 3,600 patients displaying symptoms of exposure to neurotoxic agents.

The symptoms included convulsions and blurred vision, and MSF said nearly 10 percent of those patients have died. Some of the medical and first aid workers treating the people brought in for medical care also found themselves contaminated.

The relief group said the overall situation strongly indicates the local population suffered "mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent," which it said "would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law."

In this photo taken on a government organized tour, canisters and other material that the Syrian military says it uncovered in a raid on a rebel hideout are lined up, in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, Aug. 24, 2013.In this photo taken on a government organized tour, canisters and other material that the Syrian military says it uncovered in a raid on a rebel hideout are lined up, in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, Aug. 24, 2013.
x
In this photo taken on a government organized tour, canisters and other material that the Syrian military says it uncovered in a raid on a rebel hideout are lined up, in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, Aug. 24, 2013.
In this photo taken on a government organized tour, canisters and other material that the Syrian military says it uncovered in a raid on a rebel hideout are lined up, in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, Aug. 24, 2013.
Syria has denied all allegations of chemical weapons use. State-controlled media have claimed it was rebel forces that carried out nerve gas attacks. The state news agency SANA reported that soldiers found evidence of this while searching tunnels in Damascus used by "armed terrorists."

The United States and other world powers have been pushing for a United Nations-led investigation of the chemical weapons allegations. A top U.N. official arrived in Damascus Saturday to push for access to the site where rockets loaded with poison gas were allegedly launched.

Syrian opposition leaders and activists have released video of large numbers of bodies - many of them young children - that bear no signs of physical violence. Those pictures, and separate scenes from hospitals showing patients writhing in agony without apparent wounds - are said to be persuasive indications that they were victims of an attack that used nerve gas or some other deadly chemical agent.

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but state-controlled Iranian media report he did not blame either side in comments Saturday. Iran is Syria's ally, and its Foreign Ministry has previously said evidence indicates that Syrian rebels launched the attack.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid