News / Middle East

UN Chief: Syria Strikes Could Worsen Civil War

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks about the Syria conflict during a news conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, Sept. 3, 2013.United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks about the Syria conflict during a news conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, Sept. 3, 2013.
x
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks about the Syria conflict during a news conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, Sept. 3, 2013.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks about the Syria conflict during a news conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, Sept. 3, 2013.
VOA News
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is warning world leaders against what he called "ill-considered" military action in Syria, saying it could worsen the country's civil war.

 Ban made his comments Friday at a humanitarian meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Russia, where President Barack Obama is trying to win international support for possible military strikes against Syria.

The U.N. chief warned against "further militarization of the conflict," saying that military strikes "could lead to serious and tragic consequences, and with an increased threat of further sectarian violence."

U.N. special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is also attending the conference in St. Petersburg to help Ban push for a international peace conference to help end the two and a half year-long civil war.

Global uncertainty

World leaders remained deeply divided over the Syrian crisis following the first day of the economic summit. Diplomats say a working dinner discussion on Syria lasted well into the night Thursday, with each side reiterating their position.

President Obama is looking to build a global coalition in support of military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who the White House believes carried out a chemical weapons attack last month that killed more than 1,400 people.

Russia, Syria's main ally, has led opposition to the U.S. plan. President Vladimir Putin says there is no evidence Assad carried out the attack.  Obama and Putin shook hands and smiled for the cameras Thursday, but there were no meetings scheduled between the two leaders for the summit's final day.

Obama continues push

President Obama is set to meet Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who opposes the strikes, and French President Francois Hollande, who supports them. The U.S. State Department said this week the White House plan has the support of nine countries, including France, Canada, Turkey and Australia.

Russia and China both have cast vetoes at the Security Council to defeat Western efforts to hold the Syrian government responsible for the wholesale slaughter of civilians caught up in the conflict.

Obama will hold a news conference Friday before flying back to Washington, where he is also seeking to convince U.S. lawmakers to authorize Syria military action. A key U.S. Senate panel approved the plan Wednesday. But it now faces a tough vote in both houses of Congress, likely next week.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs