News / USA

White House: Decision to Arm Syrian Rebels 'Finalized'

President Barack Obama arrives in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, June 14, 2013.
President Barack Obama arrives in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, June 14, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama will face difficult talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week after his decision to arm Syrian rebels.

White House officials say the decision is "already finalized" and will not be changed by his upcoming meeting with fellow heads of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in Northern Ireland.

The United States is increasing military aid to the Syrian rebels after determining that President Bashar al-Assad's government has used chemical weapons during the nation's civil war.



What is Sarin?
  • Man-made nerve agent originally developed as a pesticide
  • Possibly used during Iraq-Iran war
  • Used in 1995 Tokyo subway attack
  • Highly toxic, odorless, tasteless, colorless liquid
  • Exposure can be by inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption
  • People can recover with treatment from mild or moderate exposure
President Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters Friday the U.S. has a "broad range of evidence" associated with multiple incidents of chemical weapons use, including nerve gas.

But Syria's foreign ministry said Friday the U.S. accusation - stemming from an intelligence report - is based on "fabricated information," and dismissed the claim as "lies."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed Syria's sentiments in a phone conversation with his U.S. counterpart, saying the U.S. accusations were "not supported by trustworthy facts."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Lavrov in the phone call Friday that it is in the interests of both the U.S. and Russia to restore Syria to a stable situation. He added that the Syrian government should allow U.N. investigators into Syria, and that Russia should support this effort.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday there can be no certainty of chemical weapons use in Syria without an investigation on the ground. He said there is no military solution to the war and that increasing arms on either side "would not be helpful."

The two-year conflict has cost Syria more than 90,000 lives, though Ban said Friday there are indications the actual death toll could be "well above that."

The White House has reiterated President Obama's view that chemical weapons cross a "red line" and necessitate more U.S. involvement in the war.

Many of the United States' European allies have so far reacted supportively to the chemical weapons assessment.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid