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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid