News / USA

Obama Silent on US Arms to Syrian Rebels

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address media, Berlin, June 19, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address media, Berlin, June 19, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says Syria's government has lost its legitimacy by killing tens of thousands of its citizens in a bloody civil war, but he refused to describe the type of military support Washington will provide rebel forces.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama said reports the United States is heading into a new Middle Eastern war in Syria were exaggerated.

He reiterated his view that President Bashar al-Assad's government had used chemical weapons, while acknowledging that Russia was skeptical on this point.   Obama called for the United Nations to conduct "a serious investigation" into chemical weapons use.

Later this week in Qatar, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with the “London 11” foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Syria, including support to the Syrian opposition and efforts to advance a political solution.
 
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said anti-government rebels seized an army checkpoint on the Ariha-Latakia stretch of an international highway that goes through Syria's largest city, Aleppo, to the Turkish border.

Other rebel groups said opposition forces had seized three checkpoints and needed to capture three more to cut army access to the M5 highway.

Observatory head Rami Abdelrahman said a successful rebel campaign could sever all ground supply routes into northern Syria from the Mediterranean coast, where many of the country's most fortified military sites are located.

In the port city of Latakia, part of Assad's coastal stronghold where rebel attacks have been rare, opposition and state media said an arms store on a military site had exploded.

Also Wednesday, Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters pushed rebel forces out of a Damascus suburb that is home to the major Shi'ite Muslim Sayida Zeinab shrine.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said the Syrian crisis has produced a record 1.6 million refugees to date. He said the number of people who fled Syria since the beginning of January is roughly the same as the total number of refugees all over the world in 2012.

In New York, a U.N. spokesman said an interagency team last week visited the town of Qusair, scene of a devastating government assault that secured the strategic border area for pro-Assad forces.

The team reported large scale destruction, including no power or water, and said most civilians have fled to neighboring areas and to Homs and Damascus.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid