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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid