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

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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