News / Middle East

Moderate Syrian Cleric to Lead Opposition

Leading Syrian dissident Riad Seif (C) speaks to the media at the meeting of the General Assembly of the Syrian National Council in Doha, November 8, 2012.
Leading Syrian dissident Riad Seif (C) speaks to the media at the meeting of the General Assembly of the Syrian National Council in Doha, November 8, 2012.
VOA News

Syrian opposition groups have elected a moderate cleric, Maath al-Khatib, as the first leader of a new coalition that unites the disparate factions fighting to end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Businessman Riad Seif, who proposed the U.S.-backed initiative to establish an umbrella organization of Syrian- and external-based opposition, was elected vice president on Sunday.  Suhair al-Atassi, a well-known female activist, also was elected vice president.

Khatib, a former imam at the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, was imprisoned several times for criticizing Mr. Assad's rule before he left Syria this year.

Seif had drawn up the U.S.-backed reform proposals on which Sunday's agreement, reach in Doha, was based.  Opposition figures had struggled to achieve unity, under pressure from U.S. diplomats and officials from Qatar, which have supported Syrian opposition activity since an uprising began last year.

The deal came after the Syrian National Council, which had formerly been seen as the main representative of the opposition, heeded Arab and Western pressure to agree to a new structure embracing groups that had been unwilling to join its ranks.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops fired warning shots into Syria after stray munitions from fighting between Syrian troops and rebels landed in Israel's Golan Heights area.

The military said in a statement Sunday that a mortar shell landed near an Israeli army post in the Golan Heights.  It says that Israeli soldiers fired warning shots in response. 

The statement adds that the army filed a complaint through the local United Nations forces warning that "fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity".

Israel public radio said the incident was the first direct engagement between Israel and Syria since the countries' 1973 war.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid