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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs