News / Middle East

    'Friends of Syria' Seeking Ways to Push Political Solution

    FILE - Civilians make their way on a street littered with the rubble of buildings damaged by air strikes in Aleppo, May 14, 2014.
    FILE - Civilians make their way on a street littered with the rubble of buildings damaged by air strikes in Aleppo, May 14, 2014.
    VOA News
    Foreign ministers from 11 nations that support the Syrian opposition are meeting Thursday in London, as they try to figure out how to advance a political solution to the country's crisis and get aid in the hands of those affected by years of civil war.
     
    The meeting hosted by British Foreign Minister William Hague brings together the core of the so-called Friends of Syria.  His office says the diplomats will discuss how to "significantly" increase support for those demanding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leave office.
     
    International efforts to end the fighting in Syria have stalled, most notably with the failure of direct peace talks between the warring sides earlier this year. 

    'Syrian Opposition Seeks Diplomatic and Military Support from US' by VOA’s Kokab Farshori:
     
    Syrian Opposition Seeks Diplomatic and Military Support from USi
    X
    Kokab Farshori
    May 15, 2014 11:07 PM
    Leaders of the Syrian Opposition Coalition were in Washington this week seeking more diplomatic and military support from the United States. VOA’s Kokab Farshori has more.
    Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said Wednesday the U.N. chief is "disappointed" with the lack of progress.
     
    "[It] is clear that we would be doing some soul-searching as to how we can now best help this process along, and that Member States, those who are directly involved, those who have -- who can have an influence, should also use this time to figure out how they can actually best support a political peace in Syria and bring an end to the suffering of the civilians," said Dujarric.
     
    The Friends of Syria meeting comes as the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, prepares to leave his post at the end of the month. He mediated the peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, but could not get the two sides to agree on establishing a transitional government to lead Syria out of the crisis.
     
    The Syrian government has rejected the idea of Assad stepping down, and he is likely to win a new term in office when the country holds a presidential election in three weeks.
     
    Thursday's meeting involves the U.S., Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The group has repeatedly advocated for a political solution to the conflict that began in March 2011 as peaceful protests before spiraling into civil war.
     
    A senior U.S. State Department official said ahead of the meeting that the goal of the group's efforts is to "change the realities on the ground" in order to push the government to take part in "meaningful political dialogue."
     
    The official said opposition leader Ahmad Jarba and other coalition officials who visited Washington this week reiterated their desire for a political solution as well as their support for moderate rebel fighters.
     
    The United States added another $27 million in aid to the opposition this month, bringing its total contribution to $287 million. Opposition allies have also given training and logistical support to rebel fighters, along with military equipment and light weapons.
     
    Meanwhile, more than 40 people, many of them civilians, were killed by air strikes across northern Syria, a monitoring group said on Thursday.
                   
    More than three years into a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, rebels are struggling to counter government warplanes which routinely bomb military and civilian targets.
                   
    On Wednesday, 15 people were killed, including three from an emergency medical team, during five air raids in Atarib in northern Aleppo province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said early on Thursday.
                   
    Four rebel fighters were killed by air strikes in the same area, while 21 people, including women, were killed in air strikes on the Sarmada area in northwestern Idlib province, according to the anti-Assad monitoring group.
                   
    Gun battles, air strikes, car bombs, shelling and executions regularly kill over 200 people a day in Syria, where the conflict that started as a peaceful protest movement has claimed over 150,000 lives and forced millions from their homes.
     
    Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora