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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid