News / Middle East

    Syrian Rebels Shun Geneva Peace Talks

    • Residents gather at a site hit by what activists say was a Scud missile from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, Nov. 28, 2013.
    • Civilians and rescuers search under rubble at a site hit by what activists say was a Scud missile from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, Nov. 28, 2013.
    • A man walks along a damaged street in Deir al-Zor, Nov. 27, 2013.
    • A view shows damaged buildings along a deserted street in the besieged area of Homs, Nov. 25, 2013.
    • People carry a man on a stretcher after he was injured by shelling in the besieged area of Homs, Nov. 25, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters sit together as they rest in Deir al-Zor, Nov. 25, 2013.
    • Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad carry their weapons and walk in Aleppo's village of Aziza, Nov. 25, 2013.
    • A Kurdish Security Forces vehicle is seen damaged from a suicide bombing in Qamishli, Nov. 25, 2013.
    • People carry the body of a civilian activist killed during what activists said was an ambush, during a funeral in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Nov. 24, 2013.
    Images from Syria
    The commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army says his group will not participate in a peace conference planned for January in Geneva and intends to pursue its fight to topple President Bashar al-Assad regardless.

    General Salim Idriss told Al Jazeera television Tuesday that "conditions are not suitable for running the Geneva 2 talks" and that the FSA "will not stop combat at all during the Geneva conference or after it."

    The country's main exiled opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, said it has not made a final decision on whether to attend the talks, while again insisting Mr. Assad should play no role in the country's political future.

    The United Nations set January 22 as the date for the Geneva conference with the stated goal of forging a transitional government to end the more than 2-year-old conflict that has killed well over 100,000 people and displaced millions more.

    Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday that, if invited, Iran will participate in the Geneva 2 conference without any preconditions.

    "We have said all along that if Iran is invited we will participate without any preconditions. But the point is for us in Iran, finding a resolution to the crisis in Syria constitutes a matter of national importance and it is a national priority for us. So, whether invited or not, we will continue to support a political process in Syria."

    Meanwhile, the Syrian government said it would push on with its war against "terrorism" as state media announced 15 people were killed and more than 30 wounded in a suicide attack at a bus station in a Damascus suburb.

    Syrian television said all fatalities were civilians but the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said six of the dead were soldiers and that two children were also killed in Soumariya, a major hub for transport in and out of the capital.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    ​Earlier Tuesday, the World Health Organization said it confirmed two new cases of polio in Syria. An outbreak of 15 cases was found in northeastern Syria last month, prompting the largest-ever polio immunization campaign in the region.

    The U.N. health agency said the virus has now infected a child in rural Damascus and another in the northern city of Aleppo.

    The polio outbreak is the first in Syria since 1999. The WHO has warned of the high risk of the virus spreading because of large population movements in response to the country's ongoing crisis.

    The agency is working to vaccinate 20 million children in seven countries and territories in an operation it expects to continue for at least six to eight months.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mrs. Dorothy Burke from: UK
    November 26, 2013 9:35 PM
    Like these "peace talks" are really going to do anything, when it is the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT that openly funds and runs the FSA. How dumb do you think people are???
    In Response

    by: Margot Lumley from: Canada
    November 27, 2013 8:48 AM
    let me give the Arabs here a little advice... do not be like the Iranians who write under false names... its disgusting and undignified... you claim to be a Dr. from somewhere and you write with the logic of an Arab peasant... it just sounds despicable... don't be like the degenerate Iranians, please have some dignity...

    by: Dr. Kornlick from: UK
    November 26, 2013 6:43 PM
    But the CIA funds the FSA, so why should they attend some phony "meeting"?? The whole thing is a SHAM.

    by: Anonymous
    November 26, 2013 4:01 PM
    What you are witnessing in the photos are the damage and destruction by Bashar al Assad. Bashar has used his military planes, helicopters, tanks, and missiles to destroy many residential areas in Syria. He has pushed Syria backwards 30-40years. This is not what the Syrians want whatsoever. Only planes, helicopters, tanks, and missiles can deliver destruction of this magnitude. It is a disgrace to the Syrian Nation what bashar al assad has done. It is a crime. This is why so many Syrians do not want to deal with Bashar whatsoever, as most consider him a criminal. The crimes of bombarding civilian areas, murder, and genocide as well, and that's not even involving the gas he used.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    November 26, 2013 12:19 PM
    When two people are fighting, common sense calls for immediate cessation of strife because it involves loss of lives and injury. Postponing peace deal between Syrian government and rebels until January is a mark of irresponsibility and lack of commitment by those scheduling the talks. How many more lives will be lost and how much more injuries and damage to properties will be uncured? This is not acceptable at all. First it was postponement from one month to another. Now it is a shift for three months. Haba! Who is making this mistake? Someone says UN Humans Rights Commission, another says this, yet another says that. Human lives are wasted while the organizations concerned spend time making plans. Why will the rebels cease fire for the talks if there is no ceasefire for the planning? The FSA's precondition is an untenable one that should make the rest try to eliminate it for the talks to move forward. But in all sincerity, no well meaning individual or organization will continue planning to save lives while watching same lives being wasted daily. Because of lives involved in the daily fracas, let the organizations call for immediate cessation of hostilities, bring the factions together, decide what should be done to bring peace to the country and pursue it. The idea of scheduling peace for a future time is unrealistic and costly on human lives and property. If the factions are not going to be left to sort themselves out, then let the peace process be immediate. Put diplomatic and bureaucratic bottlenecks apart and save lives.

    by: Dorathea from: UK
    November 26, 2013 11:55 AM
    really...? no future...!!! i thought it was the birth of democracy... or as the Arabs have it "Dee Mook Raassy" - like some disgusting stench of Islamic spawn.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora