News / Middle East

    Reaction Mixed to US Move on Syria

    Reaction Mixed to US Move on Syriai
    X
    June 14, 2013 6:14 PM
    Reaction to the U.S. decision to increase its military aid to the Syrian rebels broke along predictable lines Friday, with U.S. allies supportive and Syria and its allies, including Russia, critical. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
    Al Pessin
    Reaction to the U.S. decision to arm the Syrian rebels broke along predictable lines Friday, with U.S. allies supportive and Syria and its allies, including Russia, critical.

    The fighting has raged in Syria for two years, and the United Nations says more than 93,000 people have been killed.  But the deaths of about 100 of them have changed the strategic situation.

    The U.S. government announced Thursday that it has concluded those people died from chemical weapons used by Syrian government forces - crossing a “red line” President Barack Obama set several months ago. It said it would provide more support to the opposition, including military aid.

    Syria denied using chemical weapons, and in Brussels, the NATO secretary general called on the Assad regime to prove it. “I welcome the clear U.S. statement. It is urgent that the Syrian regime should grant access to the United Nations to investigate all the reports of chemical weapon use," said Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

    The United States had been reluctant to arm the rebels, concerned about fueling sectarian tensions and having Western weapons fall into the hands of militants.  But the alleged use of chemical weapons has changed that calculation.  

    Khalid Saleh, a spokesman for the Syrian rebels, welcomed the change.

    "I think having those weapons will truly change the balance of power. It will enable the Syrian opposition, represented by the Syrian coalition, to think seriously about going to Geneva II,” Saleh said.

    That is the peace conference the United States and Russia are trying to organize.

    Analyst Chris Doyle, at the Center for Arab British Understanding, says that is the real goal of increasing military aid for the rebels after recent battlefield gains by the government.

    “If they want to have a viable political process, then they need to get all the parties around the table at Geneva, without the sense that the regime is victorious,” Doyle said.

    But on Friday, Russian officials were angered by the U.S. move.
     
    The chairman of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, said the United States has “no real evidence” of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government.  He also accused the rebels of using such weapons “often.”

    Key European leaders have long advocated arming the Syrian rebels, and they will likely join President Obama in pressing Russian President Vladimir Putin starting Monday, when he makes his first return to a G8 summit since regaining his post last year.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.