News / Middle East

Clinton Meets with Syrian Opposition

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with a small group of expatriate Syrian opposition members, Geneva, Dec. 6, 2011.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with a small group of expatriate Syrian opposition members, Geneva, Dec. 6, 2011.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with senior Syrian National Council members in Geneva to discuss their specific ideas for transitioning toward democracy, especially any ideas that include reaching out to minorities.

It was Clinton’s first meeting with the seven individuals, which included the Syrian National Council’s president and its human rights and civil society coordinator.

"Obviously a democratic transition includes more than removing the Assad regime," said Clinton. "It means setting Syria on the path of the rule of law and protecting the universal rights of all citizens regardless of sect or ethnicity or gender."

Although seven Syrians met with Clinton, only six were comfortable revealing their identities. All seven live in exile.

It is only the second time Clinton has met with Syrian opposition members.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford returned to Damascus after being recalled in late October amid concerns for his safety.

At that time, State Department officials said Ford was brought back to Washington as a result of "credible threats” and what a spokeswoman termed "regime-led incitement" targeting Ford.

In response, Syria recalled its own ambassador.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement saying Ford’s presence in Syria is an effective way to show the U.S. stands with the Syrian people.

Ford has been an outspoken critic of the Syrian government's violent crackdown on political dissent.

Ongoing violence

Violence in Syria has escalated in the last 24 hours, with activists reporting more than 50 deaths in a continuing government crackdown on dissent. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA more than 20 of the 34 people reportedly kidnapped and killed on Monday in Homs were dumped in the streets overnight.

The head of the Britain-based group Rami Abdelrahman said the circumstances surrounding the deaths remain unclear, but that none of the deaths occurred during pro-democracy demonstrations.

The Assad government received words of support from Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday.

In a rare public appearance in Beirut, Nasrallah lashed out against the U.S., accusing it of seeking to destroy Syria. He said he is in favor of Assad's plans for reform. Nasrallah made the comments during a speech marking the Shi'ite holy day of Ashura.

"We say yes to dealing with the phenomena of corruption, yes to all the reforms that were accepted by the Syrian leadership and that were called for by the Syrian people," said Nasrallah. "But there are some people who do not want reforms, security and stability in Syria, and neither civil peace nor dialogue. There are people who want to destroy Syria to make up for their defeat in Iraq, and Syria is a partner in defeating the Americans in Iraq."

The U.S. and its allies have been trying to isolate the government of Assad in response to its nine-month crackdown on political dissents.

The Syrian government proposed on Monday new conditions to allow observers into the country to monitor Syrian compliance with a pledge to stop cracking down on the pro-democracy uprising. The Arab League said it is studying a Syrian proposal that was received on Monday and contains "new" conditions that the regional bloc had not heard before.

The United Nations says 4,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government began in March.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Local television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left the area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid