World News

Top US Lawmakers Voice Support for Syria Strike

Top U.S. lawmakers from both parties say they will support President Barack Obama in a military intervention against Syria when the issue comes to a vote as early as next week.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made the comments after a White House meeting with Mr. Obama on Tuesday.

Boehner, leader of the Republican party in the House of Representatives, says the United States has the capability to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and must send a warning to other countries that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.

Nancy Pelosi, who leads Mr. Obama's Democratic Party in the House, said Syria's use of chemical weapons was outside of the "circle of civilized behavior." She said the United States must respond.

The Syrian government has denied chemical weapons use by the military.



Heading into the session, Mr. Obama said he was confident he could work with Congress to get a resolution authorizing military action.

He said he was asking Congress to approve a "proportional, limited" military response that would send a "clear message" to Mr. Assad's regime and any other country interested in "testing international norms."



"We recognize that there are certain weapons that when used can not only end up resulting in grotesque deaths but also can end up being transmitted to non-state actors, can pose a risk to allies and friends of ours, like Israel, like Jordan, like Turkey."



He also said the U.S. had a "broader strategy" that involves upgrading the capabilities of the Syrian opposition.

The meeting began a day of intense outreach to the Congress, including a scheduled appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said before that hearing she is fully supportive of Mr. Obama's intended action.

The White House says Mr. Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed their "grave concern" about Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons during a phone call late Monday. The White House says the two leaders agreed that any use of chemical weapons is a "serious violation of international norms" and cannot be tolerated.

French President Francois Hollande said he will wait to see if Mr. Obama receives support from Congress before deciding on a French role in any military intervention. France, earlier, voiced support for military strikes against the Syrian government.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon scheduled a briefing later Tuesday for members of the Security Council.

Mr. Ban has met with the head of a U.N. inspection team that was in Syria last week collecting samples from last month's suspected chemical attack near Damascus, which killed at least 1,400 people. The samples were sent to labs on Monday for analysis.

Mr. Assad denies his military was responsible for the use of chemical weapons, saying the United States and France have no proof to back up their allegations.

###

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs