News

    Red Cross Chief in Syria to Mediate Humanitarian Truce

    The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger meets Syrian Health Minister Wael al-Halqi (L) in Damascus, April 3, 2012
    The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger meets Syrian Health Minister Wael al-Halqi (L) in Damascus, April 3, 2012

    International Red Cross chief Jakob Kellenberger said Tuesday that it was too early to predict results from his meetings with Syrian government officials.

    The Red Cross chief traveled to Damascus to try to secure an agreement on implementing a daily two-hour pause in attacks to provide humanitarian assistance.

    ICRC spokesman Saleh Dabbakeh said Kellenberger is trying to arrange assistance in several forms. "There are a few topics that he is discussing. One is the protection of civilians," he said.

    "There is the issue of the protection of medical teams and ensuring that medical assistance gets to people who need it," Dabbakeh added. "There is the issue of ... visiting all detention places in Syria, and of expanding the ICRC presence in [Syria] because there is increasing demand for humanitarian assistance."

    Dabbakeh said Kellenberger is due to visit the flashpoint southern city of Daraa on Wednesday. He said ICRC personnel have made progress recently in reaching victims of fighting and refugees that have become displaced inside Syria.

    "The ICRC is on the ground on a daily basis, continuously. We have been able to expand our visits," Dabbakeh said. "They are longer and they are more frequent than before. But we want the actual presence on the ground to be more extensive because there is more need for humanitarian assistance now in different areas."

    Syrian state-run media said Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem pledged cooperation with the international relief group.

    Meanwhile, government attacks continued Tuesday.  Witnesses said Syrian government troops shelled the town of Taftanaz in Idlib province, near the Turkish border, amid conflicting reports over whether government tanks were storming the town.

    Opposition activist Fadi Yassine in Idlib province told Alhurra television that rebel soldiers from the Free Syrian Army have been trying to hold off government troops. He said that FSA forces have clashed with government troops, and are trying to defend their families and residents of Taftanaz, but their abilities are limited. He said the strategy of government forces is to shell towns from a distance of five to 10 kilometers before trying to invade.

    American University of Beirut Political Science Professor Hilal Khashan said talk of a cease-fire for humanitarian aid is problematic because the Syrian government is stepping up its military operations rather than reducing them.

    “To talk about a humanitarian cease-fire makes no sense, because the regime is escalating," Khashan said. "They feel they have been given a golden opportunity, another opportunity to get done with the uprising within seven more days."

    In its agreement with U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, Damascus has until April 10 to withdraw its troops from cities and towns where fighting is taking place. But Western and Arab nations supporting the opposition are mostly skeptical the Syrian government will comply.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora