World News

Obama Pushes for Congressional Support of Syria Strike

U.S. President Barack Obama is again making the case for military action in Syria in talks with a key lawmaker.

Mr. Obama is meeting Monday afternoon with prominent Senator John McCain at the White House. McCain has long urged the president to take forceful action against Syria, possibly even removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

But many U.S. lawmakers remain skeptical, questioning whether the military should be involved at all.

U.S. officials Sunday briefed some lawmakers on intelligence showing the Syrian military dropped poison gas on civilians outside Damascus last month, killing more than 1,000 people.

In an interview with the French newspaper "Le Figaro" released Monday, Syria's president rejected the allegations as illogical, charging neither the U.S. nor France has been able to produce any proof. Mr. Assad also warned that any potential military strike by the U.S. or France would risk igniting a regional war.

In addition to the evidence released by the U.S., French intelligence documents made public Monday conclude Mr. Assad was behind a "massive and coordinated" chemical weapons attack.



Despite the U.S. and French intelligence, international support for military intervention in Syria has been waning. But NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday something must be done.



"It is my firm position that the international community should react in such a situation, otherwise we would send the very dangerous signal to dictators all over the world that they can use a chemical weapons without any reaction from the international community.''



So far, only France and Turkey have come out strongly in favor of a military response.

Russia, a long-time Syrian ally, questioned Monday the credibility of U.S. evidence the Assad government used chemical weapons.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also cautioned that any military strike will only make it more difficult to find a political solution.



"If the action announced by the U.S. President, to our great disappointment, does take place, then I think, regardless of all words about the Geneva-2, it will delay any prospects for such forum for a long time, if not forever.''



Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby also warned Monday a military option in Syria is "out of the question" though he reiterated those behind the alleged chemical weapons attack must answer for their actions.



"I cannot say that there are two viewpoints (within Arab states), however I can say that there is a general opinion represented by 18 countries, in which what is needed is to take deterring measures against those who committed this crime (using chemical weapons).''



Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency says much more money is needed to help the ever-growing number of Syrians forced to flee the fighting.

Tarik Kurdi told the Associated Press nearly one-third of Syria's pre-war population has now been forced to flee.



"According to the estimations of the United Nations there are about 7 million people affected by the crisis, of those about five million have been displaced from their cities and villages to somewhere else inside Syria. The majority of them are women and children."



The UNHCR says it has only received about $70 million of the $250 million it needs to help the refugees.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs