News / Middle East

Chemical Weapons Experts in Syria Have Security Fears

A Free Syrian Army fighter prepares ammunition inside a cave in Maaret al-Naaman village, in Idlib, Syria, Oct. 17, 2013.
A Free Syrian Army fighter prepares ammunition inside a cave in Maaret al-Naaman village, in Idlib, Syria, Oct. 17, 2013.
VOA News
The chemical weapons experts tasked with ridding Syria of its arsenal say security is a concern after car bombs and mortar attacks hit near the team's Damascus hotel.

Malik Ellahi, a senior official at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told reporters Thursday that so far security issues have not kept inspectors from doing their work.

He said teams have visited 11 sites declared by Syria to be part of its chemical weapons program, and have destroyed equipment at six of them. The inspectors are due to complete that phase of their mission by November 1, and destroy all of Syria's chemical weapons by the middle of next year.

Syria, deaths from conflict, Oct. 17, 2013Syria, deaths from conflict, Oct. 17, 2013
x
Syria, deaths from conflict, Oct. 17, 2013
Syria, deaths from conflict, Oct. 17, 2013
Meanwhile, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said a long-proposed peace conference is scheduled to take place November 23 and November 24.  

He said during a news conference in Moscow the talks are as close as ever to happening, and that they would take place in December, if not next month.

"Today we are getting closer to Geneva II than ever before. After our talks in the Russian Foreign Ministry, we agreed on the dates of the conference, or at least on the presumed dates," said Jamil,

The United States and Russia have been trying for months to bring the Syrian government and opposition together to find a negotiated political solution to the crisis. Proposed time frames for the talks have been scrapped repeatedly as disagreements continue over who will take part and under what conditions.

Also Thursday, a Canadian lawyer working for a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Syria has escaped from rebel fighters who held him for eight months. Syrian state television showed Carl Campeau being handed over to the senior U.N. official in Damascus, Yacoub El-Hillo, by deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

Campeau said he managed to escape this week when his captors "forgot to lock the door" of the house where he was being held.

A rebel source said at the time of Campeau's disappearance that he was being held for ransom by a rival brigade of Syrian rebels battling to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

  • Al-Bouydah, south of Damascus, after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, Oct. 17, 2013. (SANA)
  • Damage in a mosque in al-Bouydah, south of Damascus, after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, Oct. 17, 2013. (SANA)
  • Firefighters try to extinguish a fire after a mortar bomb landed in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • This image taken from video from the Shaam News Network shows smoke billowing amid buildings after a bomb explosion in Daraya, outside Damscus, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • Civilians gather at a site of a collapsed building that activists said was shelled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Deir al-Zor, October 14, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters fire anti-tank missiles during what they said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Hama countryside, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter reacts during what the FSA said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Hama countryside, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • This image made from citizen journalist video posted by the Shaam News Network shows the aftermath of a car bomb attack on a market in the town of Darkoush in Idlib province, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • People gather around the wreckage after two suicide car bombs exploded in the center of the Syrian capital Damascus, Oct. 13, 2013. (SANA)

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs