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

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. 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