News / Middle East

Kuwait to Host Conference on Syria's Humanitarian Crisis

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, right, meets with U.N. Arab League deputy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, Syria, December 24, 2012.
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, right, meets with U.N. Arab League deputy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, Syria, December 24, 2012.
VOA News

The Kuwaiti government has announced that it plans to host an international conference next month on helping solve Syria's growing humanitarian crisis.

Kuwait's leader Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al Sabah said on the sidelines of a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Bahrain Monday that he will host donors in late January.  He said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon originally proposed the conference.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Ban's peace envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said he is still worried about Syria's civil war, after meeting with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. 
 

  • A child uses a megaphone to lead others in chanting Free Syrian Army slogans during a demonstration in Bustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo, Syria, January 4, 2013.
  • Demonstrators step on a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a protest against his regime in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district, January 4, 2013.
  • Damaged buildings and shops with members of the Syrian army patrolling in the distance in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Men stand amidst wreckage and debris after a car bomb exploded at a crowded gas station in Barzeh al-Balad district in Damascus, in this handout photograph released by SANA on January 3, 2013.
  • A father reacts after the death of two of his children whom activists said were killed by shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters stand near a fire after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Residents wear masks as they search for bodies after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army stand behind a machine gun turret with a flag reading "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger" in Aleppo's Bustan Al Qaser district, Syria, January 2, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter asks a child to move away from his house's window as a security measure in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district December 30, 2012.
  • A boy watches men dig graves for future casualties of Syria's civil conflict at Sheikh Saeed cemetery in Azaz city, December 30, 2012.

Brahimi said he discussed with Mr. Assad possible solutions to the 21-month crisis, but he did not elaborate.  Syria's state news agency SANA quoted the president as saying he supports any peace effort that protects Syria's sovereignty and independence.

Fresh violence

Brahimi's visit, his third since becoming the U.N.-Arab League envoy in September,  coincided with a large explosion Sunday that killed more than 60 people in the central town of Halfaya in Hama province. The state news agency issued a report Monday denying opposition claims that government warplanes had bombed a bakery in the town, causing a massacre of civilians.  Instead, SANA blamed the blast on "armed terrorists" -- its term for rebels trying to end Assad's 12-year rule.

Videos of the Halfaya incident posted by activists on the Internet appeared to show that most of the dead were men.  It was not clear if the bombed-out building seen in the video was a bakery.

Late Monday, the U.S. government strongly condemned what it called "the latest vicious attacks by the Syrian regime against civilians" -- specifically the Halfaya incident.  In a written statement, a State Department spokesman said such "brutal attacks" show that Assad's government "has no future in Syria."

Syrian opposition activists posted a video online that they claim shows the scene Monday of another deadly government air strike on a bakery, this time in Talbiseh in Homs province. 

Chemical weapons

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also accused government forces of using a lethal gas to kill rebels in the city of Homs on Sunday.

Syria has repeatedly vowed not to deploy chemical weapons against its own people.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose government is a Syrian ally, said any use of such weapons by the Assad government would be "political suicide."  He made the comment in a Russian television interview broadcast Monday.

Rebels and exiled Syrian opposition groups have refused to negotiate with Assad, demanding instead that he step down and face justice.  More than 40,000 people have been killed since the Syrian president began a violent crackdown on what began as a peaceful opposition uprising in March 2011.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
December 25, 2012 2:18 AM
What a SHAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by: Anonymous
December 24, 2012 11:35 PM
Ridiculous, the so- called friends of Syria, who are much more than dictators, dare to hide behind morality. These oil rich kingdoms use their minions aka wahabi radical cultists, to ravage nations.

by: Anonymous
December 24, 2012 8:48 PM
Look at the blood under Bashar Al-Assads finger nails. He scrubbed his hands before the meeting but didnt get all the blood off. He just had some jets drop a bomb on a bakery packed with people because he heard they had flour and were able to make bread there. Assad needs to realize the Karma always makes its rounds. Assads days are long over and hopefully the Syrian people catch up to him. Hopefully the father of a daughter that was bombed captures him, then takes his anger out on him. Bashar Al-Assad is the biggest terrorist in Syria, terrorizing most of the country, thousands dead, thousands homeless, thousands in captivity right now, thousands tortured, thousands of businesses and homes destroyed, thousands tortured, the list goes on.... Hopefully the Syrians capture him and put him on trial under Syrian Law (likely thousands of death sentences).

by: kanaikal irumporai from: -
December 24, 2012 6:13 PM
The UN is nothing other than the most obedient dog of the Big-Powers. UN also keeps it's own corrupted individuals all the way from the General Secretary to his lower staffs. Realpolitik dictates for the big powers to choose their cause of actions, while interested individuals within the UN system work for petty benefits. Ban Ki Mon is the most corrupted individual in the world, while his under secretaries are easy buys for the respective state that commit horrendous crimes and simply play between the noses of these big powers, who try to secure their geopolitical interest prevail. Therefore it's only a matter of time and if Assad is able to turn the tide and kill most of those foreign agents and get the rest subdued, the US an others have to obey. There are precedents for such events, where the state carried out Genocide, wipe out hundreds of thousands of people within a span of three weeks and able to wash it's hands with Western help just because of its strategic position in the world map. Assad sit on such a position and if he decides to go once and for all and invite the Chinese and Russians to get things done, Mr. Obama will send his envoy to talk peace and preach a ne kind of justice delivery where the accused is allowed to investigate, prosecute and deliver verdict.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 25, 2012 2:45 AM
The people are with Assad!!! The insurgents are destroying Syria and themselves will be destroyed.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 24, 2012 8:51 PM
The Syrians and whoever else helps them will over take Assad. You can't force an entire country to like you. You get toppled. Just a matter of time before forces will be surrounding Bashar Al-Assads location. I wouldn't doubt it in the slightest if Bashar Al-Assad shoots himself in the head (suicide) before giving himself up. What a shame, your typical Hitler type stunt. It would be great if the Syrians capture and keep him alive so he is detained for a long long time. I think death would be the easy way out for Bashar.

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
December 24, 2012 12:43 PM
Mr. Lavrov and for that matter Mr. Putin may be well intentioned, but it is unlikely that they have a true picture of the sit. Even the henious dictator, Assad, probably no longer has a true grip on reality wrt the sit on the ground. Once terrorist groups like Hezbollah on behalf of Assad, and Al-Qaida on behalf of the opposition, etc, are involved, the picture of what is fact and fiction on the confrontation lines changes dramatically. We should not be surprised if Chem weapons are introduced; confirmation of the fact(s) is needed rapidly. If Chem weapons are introduced, then the reality of their distribution/ accountability/future loss/danger to all/..- changes all the risk estimates. The body/tissue of the victim, or blood samples of those that survived would help establish the facts (type of chemical(s)/concentrations/etc). If true, it is really bad news for the entire ME/beyond. Very, very sad if true, irrespective who has introduced such weapons.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs