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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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 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 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.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid