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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid