News / Middle East

US Does Not Oppose Britain, France Arming Syrian Opposition

Syrian Opposition Coalition members and Syrian National Coalition members attend a meeting in Istanbul, March 18, 2013.
Syrian Opposition Coalition members and Syrian National Coalition members attend a meeting in Istanbul, March 18, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration does not oppose moves by the United Kingdom and France to arm opponents of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Coalition has chosen U.S.-educated former businessman Ghassan Hitto as provisional prime minister to administer the areas seized by rebels from the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hitto received 35 of the 48 votes cast by members of the opposition coalition meeting in Turkey on Tuesday. He has lived in the United States for decades, but recently moved from Texas to Turkey to help coordinate aid to rebel-held areas.

The United States already cooperates with Arab allies arming the Syrian opposition, so Kerry said Washington has no objection to Europeans doing the same.

"President Obama has made it clear that the United States does not stand in the way of other countries that made a decision to provide arms, whether it is France or Britain or others," said Kerry.

Kerry said there is a military imbalance in Syria, with President Bashar al-Assad receiving help from Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia. That imbalance is creating what he called a "global catastrophe" of Syrian refugees fleeing to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Watch related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin:

Pressure Rising on Syrian Oppositioni
X
March 18, 2013 5:47 PM
Syria's opposition coalition is meeting in Istanbul, trying again to pick leaders and form a government with the hope of administering diverse rebel-held parts of the country. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports on this latest effort by the opposition to form a rebel government to replace the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Kerry said there is no change to the U.S. position of providing only non-lethal aid to the armed opposition, though, as he said the Obama administration continues to work to change Assad's calculation.

"The longer the bloodshed goes on, the greater the prospect that the institutions of the state of Syria implode.  And therefore the greater the danger is to the region and the world that chemical weapons fall into the hands of really bad actors. We do not want that to happen," he said.

France and the United Kingdom want the European Union to lift its arms embargo on Syria and both are considering providing weapons to the opposition unilaterally if the European Union does not.

Germany and other EU members echo U.S. concerns that more weapons will only lead to more fighting. Kerry said the Obama administration is leaving the door open for  Assad to find a political solution.

"If he believes he can shoot it out, Syrians and the region have a problem. And the world has a problem," said Kerry.

Kerry leaves Tuesday as part of Obama's trip to Israel, where the war in neighboring Syria will be high on the diplomatic agenda. It also is a trip to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in which Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who met Monday with Kerry in Washington, said American leadership is required.

"I believe we are at a historic moment where there is a convergence produced by the thinking in Ramallah and the result of the recent Israeli election," said Carr.

Following the formation of his new government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is extending a hand in peace to Palestinians, vowing that "Israel will be ready for a historic compromise that will end the conflict with the Palestinians once and for all" with a Palestinian partner "that is willing to hold negotiations in good will."

At the State Department, Carr welcomed the prime minister's offer. Kerry said he hopes those words become a reality.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mustafa from: pakistan
March 18, 2013 11:13 PM
I cannot understand why USA wants a change in leadership. Truely speaking USA wants a puppet Govt in Syria. USA wants a Govt Like SAUDIA,BAHRAIN,KUWAIT AND UAE. They cannot speak a single word against the will of USA. Saudi arab has no freedom of expression, even there is freedom of religion but why USA is keep quite. IS any body can explain.


by: NVO from: USA
March 18, 2013 9:34 PM
NEW WORLD ORDER rising, people, WAKE UP!! If its not PLANNED financial collapse, they will take you to WAR. Again, WAKE UP!!


by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
March 18, 2013 7:35 PM
If France and UK supply arms in addition to the US supply of so-called "non-lethal" armored vehicles and equipments will suffice the Syrian opposition forces to overthrow Assad. Is there any armored vehicles without arms in the US inventry?

In Response

by: Peace lover from: Peace world
March 19, 2013 12:10 AM
I think the Syrians will have to struggle for decades to rebuild the war torn country and who knows the next generation of the country will either oppose or not what the today's generation of Syrian is doing to the country. However, i wish the a bright future for the Syria. What does this little difference mean when you not supplying arms but permitting the other two flowers to arm the opposition while you being the leader. The play with words can not change the intention....Lets all pray for a long lasting peace worldwide.


by: Yvon from: USA
March 18, 2013 4:12 PM
The west no more help free Syria army, let them take care them self because of Terrorist and Kidnapped UN peace keepers. Who want to help who is terrorist too, and don't use tax Dollars to do that dirty job.


by: James North from: UK
March 18, 2013 10:09 AM
now that the "Syrian Opposition" has been exposed for the fraud it is - a subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization, I was hoping that we would moderate our enthusiasm trying to arm them... or maybe we have degenerated too far to the status of a third world Islamic state...???

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid