News / Middle East

    Russian PM: Delaying Syrian Reforms May be 'Fatal' Error for Assad

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) takes part in an interview with CNN news channel in Davos January 23, 2013.Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) takes part in an interview with CNN news channel in Davos January 23, 2013.
    x
    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) takes part in an interview with CNN news channel in Davos January 23, 2013.
    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) takes part in an interview with CNN news channel in Davos January 23, 2013.
    VOA News
    Russia has made one of its strongest criticisms of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to date, saying the longtime Russian ally made a potentially "fatal" error by delaying democratic reforms demanded by Syria's opposition. 
     
    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made the comment in an interview with U.S. television network CNN, broadcast Sunday. He said Assad should have acted much faster to reach out to moderate opponents. 
     
    Medvedev said he believes the Syrian president's chances of remaining in power are getting smaller and smaller by the day, but he repeated Moscow's position that Syria's fate must be decided by its own people. 
     
    Russia has been a longtime supplier of weapons to the ruling Assad family and has vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions that would have condemned him for trying to crush what began as a peaceful pro-democracy uprising. 
     
    The rebellion has evolved into civil war in which majority Sunni rebels and Islamist militants have been fighting to end the 12-year rule of Assad, a minority Alawite. 
     
    Syrian state media said Sunday the government's top judicial council has suspended legal action against exiled opposition figures, to allow them to return home for a national dialogue proposed by President Assad earlier this month. 
     
    However, Syria's exiled opposition coalition has consistently refused to deal with Assad, saying he must leave power before any peace talks can begin. 
     
    U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos was in Damascus on Sunday to learn more about the suffering caused by the conflict, which she has described as "catastrophic." 
     
    Amos made no comments to reporters as she arrived in the Syrian capital and held talks with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. She also visited a school in the Damascus suburb of Bazreh, where some displaced Syrians have been sheltering. 
     
    Speaking in Switzerland last week, Amos said Syria is paying the price for the failure of world powers to resolve a civil war that has displaced two million people and turned another 650,000 into refugees abroad. The U.N. is to hold a donor conference in Kuwait on Wednesday, to raise funds for Syria's humanitarian crisis. 
     
    In the latest violence, opposition activists said government and rebel forces fought each other around a Damascus railway station on Sunday. They said the fighting in Qadam district led to the closure of a highway that runs to the southern town of Dara'a. There was no independent confirmation of the incident because Syria bars most independent reporting in the country. 
     
    The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed since the Syrian uprising began with pro-democracy protests in March 2011, before evolving into a civil war.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

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

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    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

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    January 27, 2013 7:39 PM
    Russia find the fatalistic attitude in the behavior of President Assad. Russia is slowly modifying its support to Assad by voting for the UN Security Council resolution for refering the human right violations in the Syrian civil war to the international court. Russia is chiding Assad for making the fatal error for delay in making democratic reforms in Syria. Russia started slowly pulling out of Russian citizens from Syria. It appears that Russian naval base at Tartus in the Mediterranean coast of Syria is not sustainable. Russia is still supplying arms to Syria. It is time that Syria stop arms shipments to Syria. When
    the opposition overthrow Assad, Syria is not going to pay for the arms purchased by Assad.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    January 28, 2013 12:08 PM
    Correct, and the people of Syria will never want Russian government on their soil again. I don't blame them one bit. Russia is the reason that Bashar was not taken out at the beginning. It seemed Russia was an "Ally" of a war criminal and wanted to protect him. Putin is the man that is responsible for it, he has blood all over himself from Chechnya, he killed so many innocent there.

    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