News / Middle East

Syria to Propose Cease-fire at Peace Conference

Qadri Jamil, Syria's deputy prime minister for economic affairs, listens during a news conference in Moscow, August 21, 2012.Qadri Jamil, Syria's deputy prime minister for economic affairs, listens during a news conference in Moscow, August 21, 2012.
x
Qadri Jamil, Syria's deputy prime minister for economic affairs, listens during a news conference in Moscow, August 21, 2012.
Qadri Jamil, Syria's deputy prime minister for economic affairs, listens during a news conference in Moscow, August 21, 2012.
VOA News
Syria's government has said it will call for a cease-fire at a proposed United Nations-backed peace conference aimed at ending the country's civil war.

Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil told The Guardian the conflict has reached a stalemate, saying neither the government nor the rebels are strong enough to defeat each other.

He told the British paper the Syrian government would also propose an "end to external intervention" and the start of a "peaceful political process" at the long-delayed conference in Geneva.

The United States and Russia have been trying for months to bring together members of Syria's government and rebel forces to the so-called Geneva Two talks.

An earlier round of talks last year ended in failure with neither side represented. Syria's divided opposition has boycotted the talks until President Bashar al-Assad resigns.

International efforts to come up with a political solution to the conflict have been revived following a U.S.-Russian deal that requires Assad to give up his chemical weapons.

Before the deal emerged, the U.S. had threatened to carry out limited military strikes to punish the government for allegedly making an attack using chemical weapons that killed hundreds in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus last month.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that the U.N. Security Council should move quickly to formalize the proposal. It has already been tentatively agreed to by Russia and Syria.

Kerry also said a U.N. report released earlier this week shows overwhelming evidence that President Assad's forces carried out the attack, which the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people.

How Are Chemical Weapons Destroyed?

  • Chemical agents can be destroyed by incineration or neutralization
  • The U.S. Army has 5 portable units capable of destroying chemical weapons armed with explosives
  • Operators put the weapon in a sealed container and remotely detonate charges to set off the weapon
  • Operators then add chemicals to the sealed container to neutralize the weapon
     
Source: US Army
"Sarin was used. Sarin killed. The world can decide whether it was used by the regime which has used chemical weapons before, the regime which had the rockets and the weapons, or whether the opposition secretly went unnoticed into territory they don't control to fire rockets they don't have containing sarin that they don't possess to kill their own people. And that without even being noticed, they just dissembled it all and packed up and got out of the center of Damascus controlled by Assad. Please," said Kerry.

President Assad denied his forces launched the poison gas attack. He says it was instead carried out by rebels who have been infiltrated by al-Qaida-linked fighters that he says make up the majority of the opposition against him.

Meanwhile on Friday, Rebels of the Free Syrian Army have reached a cease-fire with fighters from an al-Qaida-linked group after clashes over control of a northern Syrian town, an activist group says. The Northern Storm Brigade, loyal to the Free Syrian Army, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) agreed to an immediate ceasefire in Azaz, near the Turkish border, and an exchange of prisoners, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.


Syria's main Western-backed opposition coalition condemned Islamist extremists within the rebel ranks on Friday. The Syrian National Coalition said Friday the behavior of the al-Qaida-linked fighters is "contrary to the Syrian revolution."

The statement said the ISIL has "foreign agendas" and has carried out "repeated repressive practices of civilians, doctors, journalists and political activists in recent months."

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Doris Loadburp from: UK
September 20, 2013 9:39 AM
The Pentagon has put together a plan to equip and train “moderate” Syrian rebel forces. The move would mark the first instance of the American military having direct contact with the opposition. Information regarding the new plan was relayed by two Obama administration officials to CNN (The Circus News Network, state run propaganda). The idea has allegedly been under consideration since the first evidence emerged of a massive chemical weapons attack outside Damascus on August 21. The US maintains the attack was carried out by Assad’s government. Though the two officials did not cite many specifics on the proposal, the effort would involve training that would take place in a country near Syria. However, weapons would not be directly supplied as the Pentagon has no authority to do so.

“We have any number of options under development that could expand our support to the moderate opposition, but no decision has been taken at this point,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey told reporters on Wednesday.

The Pentagon’s plan would involve US troops training selected rebels on the use of small arms, along with command and control and other military tactics. “The path to the resolution of the Syrian conflict is through a developed capable moderate opposition, and we know how to do that,” Dempsey said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing earlier this month. “I think that subsequent to that, we would probably return to have a discussion about what we might do with the moderate opposition in a more overt way,” he added.

According to the Obama administration officials, the idea of training rebel groups may face poor timing as the US is currently engaged with both Syria and Russia in a plan to put the country’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international control. Increased hostility among moderates and the extremist Al-Qaeda-affiliated wing may further complicate plans to intervene on behalf of the Syrian opposition.

On Tuesday, Syrian rebels turned on one another in the border city of Azaz, located next to Turkey. Clashes were reported in the area between the Free Syrian Army and fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The fighting reportedly broke out after the ISIS attempted to abduct a German doctor from a local hospital guarded by an FSA unit. The physician was accused of being a spy. The ISIS, which is believed to have superior equipment by way of Gulf states supplying arms, was reported to have sent 600 reinforcements from the city of Raqqa to bolster its control over Azaz, which lies on a vital supply route for Syrian rebels.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More