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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora