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

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora