News / Middle East

Syria Peace Conference Likely Off Until July

A member of forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad erects a Syrian flag atop of a gate in Qusair, June 5, 2013.
A member of forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad erects a Syrian flag atop of a gate in Qusair, June 5, 2013.
VOA News
The United Nations special representative for Syria says an international peace conference to end the civil war likely will not take place until July because the two sides in the conflict are unprepared to commit to a diplomatic solution.

Lakhdar Brahimi said Wednesday he will chair a second round of preparatory talks on June 25, after Russian, U.S. and United Nations officials meeting in Geneva Wednesday failed to resolve questions about the proposed peace negotiations.

The announcement came after Syrian government forces seized control of the strategic border town of Qusair after a three-week offensive, vowing to "crush" the rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

The army said Wednesday the development is a "clear message" to all those opposing Syria, while outgunned rebels confirmed their withdrawal from Qusair, which they had held for more than a year.

Abu Rami, an opposition activist in nearby Homs, said "emergency evacuations" were needed from Qusair and called for international aid agencies to move in urgently.

"One-thousand casualties - including civilians and members of [the Free Syrian Army] - in addition to 20,000 people - including families, women, children and elderly - are trapped in al-Qusair," he said.

Rami accused pro-government forces of indiscriminately using air power, mortars and rocket fire against civilians to force the rebel withdrawal.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Qusair is on a key highway linking the Syrian capital, Damascus, to the Mediterranean coast, and is close to rebel smuggling routes along the Lebanese border.

Syrian forces were aided by hundreds of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters in the offensive.

With Hezbollah directly involved in the fight, international powers have raised concerns about the spread of the Syrian conflict. Last week, the U.N. Human Rights Council approved a resolution condemning Mr. Assad's government for using "foreign fighters" in Qusair.

  • Smoke rises from a fire as a result of fighting in the the Syrian village of Quneitra near the border with Israel, as seen from an observatory near the Quneitra crossing, June 6, 2013.
  • Soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stand on a damaged street full of debris in Qusair, June 6, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC shows a poster of late Syrian President Hafez Assad on a garbage truck, in Aleppo, Syria, June 6, 2013.
  • Pro-government fighters and tanks in Qusair, after the Syrian army took control of the city from rebel fighters, June 5, 2013.
  • Homemade weapons left by Syrian rebels are pictured, after the army seized control of the city of Qusair and the surrounding region in Syria's central Homs province.
  • Syrian army soldiers with their weapons in the city of Qusair, June 5, 2013.
  • Supporters of Hezbollah distribute sweets as they celebrate after the Syrian army took control of Qusair with Hezbollah's support from rebel fighters, in the Shi'ite town of Hermel, Lebanon, June 5, 2013.
  • In Raqqa province, a boy lights candles for a sit-in in solidarity with those in Homs, June 4, 2013.
  • Syrian rebels prepare to fire locally made rockets in Idlib, northern Syria, June 4, 2013.
  • A handout picture released by the Shaam News Network shows rebel fighters manning an anti-aricraft gun near Hama, Syria, June 4, 2013.
  • Syrian refugee children attend class at a new school at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the border with Syria, June 4, 2013.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
June 05, 2013 4:45 PM
The top priorities are the delivery of humanitarian aid to trapped civilians and evacuation of wounded. Both the US and Russia need to bring pressure on their respective groups to ensure these activities can take place. Unfortunately, on their own, neither side is prepared to ensure these two activities can take place in a secure environment.


by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
June 05, 2013 9:39 AM
This is a great opportunity to severely bleed Hezbollah in asymmetrical warfare by our good friends in the Syrian rebellion. It doesn't take a blind man to see that Hezbollah lines are clearly overstretched into Syria proper.

One should never pass up a chance to sock it to these Iranian paid gangsters.this is an easy gimme. take the gimme.(opportunities like this don't come around that often)


by: Anonymous
June 05, 2013 5:27 AM
Anyone in opposition of Bashar al Assad is referred to as terrorists. But yet Bashar has killed more innocent civilians and opposition than anyone. He has destroyed the entire country and has tried terrorizing a nation to like him. News for Bashar, it isn't working, most of your country want you held accountable for the destruction and murder of thousands, affecting millions and millions of people. Once Bashar faces his crimes by the New Syria, then the Syrians will be happy along with billions around the globe.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid