News / Middle East

UN Envoy to Meet With Assad Saturday

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, left, meets with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, right, in Damascus, Syria, September 13, 2012.Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, left, meets with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, right, in Damascus, Syria, September 13, 2012.
x
Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, left, meets with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, right, in Damascus, Syria, September 13, 2012.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, left, meets with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, right, in Damascus, Syria, September 13, 2012.
VOA News
The new U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is set to talk with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Saturday in Damascus as he continues his first official visit to the war-torn country.  

A U.N. spokesman said Brahimi met Friday with Syrian officials, U.N. staff, Red Cross officers, and envoys from Russia and China.  Along with a meeting with Assad, Brahimi is set to meet with a Syrian opposition group and a European Union delegation, the U.N. spokesman said.

Brahimi said Thursday the situation is getting worse and described efforts to ease the crisis as "nearly impossible."

Turkey warns Assad

Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized China and Russia during an international conference in the Ukrainian city of Yalta.  Erdogan said both countries must continue to push Syria toward meaningful negotiations.  

Erdogan also warned Assad's regime is coming to "its inevitable end."
 
UNSC impasse

The U.N. Security Council is deadlocked over Syria.  China and Russia have vetoed efforts to impose tough new sanctions against the Assad government.

The United States does not want any military involvement in Syria, and there has been almost no progress in uniting the fragmented opposition to form a viable alternative to Assad.

Meanwhile, the United States Friday accused Syria of using the "brutal repression" of its people as an excuse for not cooperating with U.N.'s nuclear watchdog.

The U.S. envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Robert Wood, made the accusations during a meeting in Vienna.  The IAEA has long been seeking access to Syria's Deir el-Zour site, saying Syria is legally bound to comply.  Syria insists the site is a conventional military facility.  

On Thursday, Hollywood film star Angelina Jolie met with Turkish officials in Ankara, a day after meeting with Syrian refugees in eastern Turkey.  Jolie is a special envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and has been traveling with a UNHCR delegation.

The 18 months of fighting between government forces and rebels has left about 20,000 people dead, mostly civilians.  U.N. officials say the war has driven more than one million people from their homes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
  • A Syrian child reacts while being treated by a doctor, in a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, September 11, 2012.
  • A Syrian woman looks back while walking with another woman past a pile of garbage left on a roadside in Aleppo, Syria, September 11, 2012.
  • Syrians walk by a building which was damaged by government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, September 11, 2012.
  • A Syrian rebel fighter, right, eats while others chat as they wait for transportation to go fight government forces in Aleppo, September 10, 2012.
  • A Syrian child, whose displaced with her family due to fighting between the rebels and government forces, drinks water from a tanker in a school on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 10, 2012.
  • Syrian rebel fighters raise their weapons as they head to fight government forces in Aleppo, in Suran, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 10, 2012.
  • A Syrian rebel fighter holds his rifle as he and other fighters head to Aleppo to fight government forces, at their headquarters in Suran, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 10, 2012.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs