News / USA

    US Senators Call for Increased Military Pressure on Syrian Government

    A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his weapon in Raqqa province, east Syria, May 6, 2013. A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his weapon in Raqqa province, east Syria, May 6, 2013.
    x
    A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his weapon in Raqqa province, east Syria, May 6, 2013.
    A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his weapon in Raqqa province, east Syria, May 6, 2013.
    Meredith Buel
    Members of the U.S. Congress are calling on the Obama administration to put additional military pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in an effort to end the country’s civil war.

    A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is calling for President Barack Obama to arm the rebels in Syria.

    Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, says the U.S. needs to do more in Syria to change the situation on the ground.

    “It is essential, Mr. President, that the United States, working with our allies in the region, step up the military pressure on the Assad regime.  Of course doing so in a carefully thought out and regionally supported way,” Levin said.

    Arizona Senator John McCain says the strategic and humanitarian costs of the Syrian conflict are devastating both for the Syrian people and American interests.

    McCain says the U.S. military should train and arm Syrian opposition forces and use precision strike capabilities to target the government’s aircraft and SCUD missile launchers.

    “We have the capacity to significantly weaken both the Assad regime's airpower and its increasing use of ballistic missiles, which pose significant risks as delivery vehicles for chemical weapons,” McCain said.

    New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, says the U.S. should arm the Syrian rebels with shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.

    “Under the present set of circumstances, Assad believes that he is winning and for so long as he believes he is winning he will continue the course that he is on.  There has to be a change in the tipping point here,” Menendez said.

    The Obama administration has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid, but has been reluctant to provide weapons to the rebels because of concern they could fall into the hands of militants.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says President Assad cannot be part of a transitional government that could lead the country out of civil war.

    Kerry spoke in Rome during a joint news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

    "The foreign minister will work with us, as they have, to try to bring all the parties to the table so that we can effect a transition government by mutual consent of both sides, which clearly means that, in our judgment, President Assad will not be a component of that transitional government,'' Kerry said.

    Secretary Kerry also urged Russia not to sell an advanced air defense system to Syria.

    He said such a move would be destabilizing for Israel, a key U.S. ally in the region.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora