News / Middle East

UN Chief Urges Syria Truce for Ramadan

United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, April 2013 file photo.
United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, April 2013 file photo.
VOA News
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on Syrian forces and rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad to halt their fighting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins Tuesday.

Ban says he is not looking for a negotiated truce, but rather a commitment from "every person holding a gun" in Syria to stop the violence as a gift to the Syrian people.

He says such a move can bring "hope and momentum toward peace," and reiterated that a Syrian-led political solution is the only way to end the "ever-worsening civil war."

More than two years of fighting have left as many 100,000 people dead and nearly 6 million others displaced within Syria or seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

Ban urged the international community to voice their support for the Syrian people, with the message that "yet more violence is not the way."

He also called on both sides in the conflict to immediately release detainees.

Meanwhile, Syria says it has invited U.N. officials to Damascus to discuss the alleged use of chemical weapons in the country. However, Syria's ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Jaafari, made clear Monday that the talks would be limited to a specific instance in which the government says rebels used chemical weapons, and not the broad investigation the U.N. wants to carry out.

Ban welcomed the offer that would send Angela Kane, the U.N. official in charge of disarmament, along with Ake Sellstrom, who is leading the U.N.'s chemical weapons investigation for Syria. But he says he remains "seriously concerned" about the allegations.

Sellstrom is due in New York this week to brief Ban on what his team has found in investigations in neighboring countries and from information provided by other U.N. members.


  • Boys carry buckets as they line up to receive free food for their first iftar, or breaking fast, during Ramadan in Raqqa province, eastern Syria July 10, 2013.
  • People walk and on the first day of Ramadan in a passageway separating Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr, which is under the rebels' control, and Al-Masharqa neighborhood, an area controlled by the regime, July 10, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC shows Syrian rebels running during heavy clashes with Syrian soldiers in the Salah al-Din neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, July 9, 2013.
  • Dany, a 14-year-old fighter, whom activists say is the youngest fighter in the Khadraa brigade operating under the Free Syrian Army, walks as he holds his weapon in Deir al-Zor July 9, 2013.
  • People stand at the site of an explosion in Ekrema neighborhood in Homs, Syria, July 8, 2013. (SANA)
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Lens Young Homsi shows black smoke rising from buildings damaged by Syrian government airstrikes and shelling in Homs, Syria, July 7, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army members react after they fire towards positions of pro-Bashar al-Assad forces in Deir al-Zor, July 7, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they walk along a street prior to an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 6, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters get briefed prior to an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 6, 2013.
  • Damage at the industrial area in the al-Kaboun neighborhood in Damascus after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, July 6, 2013. (SANA)
  • Damage at the industrial area in the al-Kaboun neighborhood in Damascus after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, July 6, 2013. (SANA)

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid