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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid