News / Middle East

UN Chemical Weapons Chief: Last of Syria's Stockpile Inaccessible

Sigrid Kaag, special coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the U.N., holds a news conference at the U.N. headquarters, May 8, 2014.
Sigrid Kaag, special coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the U.N., holds a news conference at the U.N. headquarters, May 8, 2014.
VOA News
The head of the U.N. agency overseeing Syria's chemical weapons destruction says the last remaining eight percent is in a dangerous and inaccessible area.

Sigrid Kaag told reporters after a closed-door Security Council briefing that 16 barrels are all that is left before 100 percent of Syria's stockpile is destroyed.

But she said those barrels are in an area too dangerous to enter because of security problems.

Kaag said full access is critical to ensure Syria meets the June 30 deadline for ridding itself of all chemical weapons. She said the "clock is ticking."

Meanwhile, the head of Syria's main opposition group, Ahmad Jarba, said his talks Thursday in Washington with Secretary of State John Kerry and other top officials will bear fruit for the Syrian people.

Jarba said Syrians are looking to the United States to help them end the suffering.

The United States this week recognized Jarba's Syrian National Coalition as a diplomatic foreign mission.

Secretary of State Kerry said the coalition is a moderate opposition group committed to protecting the rights of all the Syrian people.

"We have obviously an important meeting today with the Syrian opposition coalition and I am very pleased to welcome to the department someone who understands better than anybody the stakes in the struggle in Syria and the fight against extremism," he said. "President Jarba and I have met many times, we have had difficult moments in this journey but we are committed to do our part to support the moderate opposition in its efforts to provide a legitimate voice to the aspirations and hopes of the Syrian people. His coalition, Syrian opposition coalition that he has built is an inclusive and moderate institution committed to the Syrian people and to the protection of all people, all minorities, all rights within Syria. The Syrian opposition coalition has given voice to all Syrians who had been oppressed by the regime for decades."

On Thursday militant Syrian rebels claimed responsibility for blowing up the 150-year-old Carlton Hotel in the historic old city of Aleppo.

The rebels planted bombs in tunnels under the building, completely destroying it. Syrian government forces had been using the old hotel as a base.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the explosion killed 14 soldiers.

The hotel was located across the street from the Citadel of Aleppo, a 13th-century structure that the United Nations cultural agency describes as a "remarkable example" of military architecture in the region.

Aleppo's old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been caught in the middle of Syria's civil war. UNESCO placed Aleppo on its listed of endangered historic sites last year. It says the civil war has damaged many of the city's historical sites.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs