News / Middle East

Syria Tops Russia-EU Summit Agenda

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
VOA News
Russia and the European Union are beginning two days of talks overshadowed by disputes over the EU's strong backing of the Syrian opposition and Moscow's continued support for President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts a dinner late Monday ahead of a full day of negotiations on Tuesday.

The EU decided last week to lift its arms embargo on the Syrian opposition, clearing the way for member nations to supply weapons to anti-Assad fighters at a later date.

The summit comes as Russia and the United States continue to try to arrange an international peace conference that would bring together both the Syrian government and the opposition pushing to oust Assad.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday that the United States is not putting enough pressure on the Syrian opposition to participate in the international talks and drop its demand for President Assad's exit.

The Syrian government has said it is willing to attend such a conference in principle.  But the main opposition coalition has rejected the idea, saying talks are meaningless while Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah and Iranian personnel commit alleged atrocities against the Syrian people.

Russia has opposed any kind of foreign involvement, and has used its veto power on the United Nations Security Council to block three proposed resolutions against the Syrian government.

Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is on display in an undisclosed location in Russia. (file photo)Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is on display in an undisclosed location in Russia. (file photo)
x
Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is on display in an undisclosed location in Russia. (file photo)
Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is on display in an undisclosed location in Russia. (file photo)
Also Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said no Russian shipments of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria would take place before 2014.  He did not elaborate on how he had arrived his conclusions.

Last week, Ya'alon warned that Israel would "know what do to" if Russia fulfilled the delivery of the S-300 system.

Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian warplanes pounded the embattled town of Qusair Monday as a government offensive backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters entered its third week.

A doctor in Qusair told the Associated Press that 300 seriously wounded residents need to be evacuated for medical treatment.  The AP reported that Kasem Alzein pleaded for help, saying previous evacuation efforts failed after a convoy was attacked last week.

Also Monday, four people died in clashes between Sunni and Alawite residents of the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli stoked by the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Lebanon is struggling to curb the spillover of violence from Syria, where 80,000 people have died in the last two years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Andreas
June 03, 2013 12:06 PM
Those innocent civilllians who have lost their lives at the hands of the Syrian Army's indiscriminate campaign of ethnic cleansing are obviously of little concern, if any, to the Russians who are attempting to justify the export of missiles to Syria. Surely the United Nations can censure Russia if they go ahead with the missiles.
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
June 04, 2013 1:22 AM
You must have been fooled by the media of the west. Syria used to be a most peaceful place in the Middle East where all sects lived in harmony. The West is to blamed for the present situation because they have been trying to instigate hatred among sects and they have used the hand of terrorists in order to overthrow the lawfully elected government. They intend to turn the whole Syria into a second Iraq or Afganistan where people are living in a hell instead of enjoying democracy as they are always promissing.
In Response

by: Mirela from: Balkans
June 03, 2013 4:05 PM
It will be better for syrian people to live free without terrorist who ocupied syrian towns and killed innoncent people. Will be better for ordinary people if terrorists free Syrian army be driven out of Syria. Terrorists rob and kill innocent people. Government army is trying to protect them from terrorists. Assad was elected in democratic elections in the country and spark civil war with the support of the U.S. government. It pays wages through stooges terrorists to overthrow the democratically elected president.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
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 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 US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of 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 Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
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.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs