News / Middle East

    US: Assad's Plan 'Detached from Reality'

    A member of the Free Syrian Army holds up a poster of Hafez al-Assad, the father of current President Bashar al-Assad whose defaced picture is seen hanging on a garbage bin near an area that they set fire to in the city of Aleppo, October, 17, 2012.
    A member of the Free Syrian Army holds up a poster of Hafez al-Assad, the father of current President Bashar al-Assad whose defaced picture is seen hanging on a garbage bin near an area that they set fire to in the city of Aleppo, October, 17, 2012.
    VOA News
    The United States said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's plan for a national reconciliation conference is "detached from reality" and is an attempt to "cling to power."

    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in statement following a rare speech by Assad Sunday that the Syrian leader has lost legitimacy. She repeated calls for him to step down, saying he is proposing dialogue while his government is "deliberately stoking sectarian tensions" and killing its own people.

    • Demonstrators hold banners during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, after Friday prayers in Kafranbel, near Idlib, Syria, January 11, 2013 in this picture provided by Shaam News Network.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter uses binoculars near the Menagh military airport, in Aleppo's countryside, Syria, January 10, 2013.
    • A damaged car and buildings covered with snow are seen in the Jouret al Shayah area of Homs, Syria, January 10, 2013.
    • Residents evacuate their houses after being targeted by missiles fired by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo's al-Mashhad district, Syria, January 9, 2013.
    • Children sit next to a fire in Aleppo city, Syria, January 9, 2013.
    • Civilians and Free Syrian Army fighters gather at a site hit by a missile in Aleppo's al-Mashhad district, Syria, January 7, 2013.
    • People help a wounded person after a missile hit Aleppo's al-Mashhad district, Syria, January 7, 2013.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad waving to his supporters after speaking at the Opera House in central Damascus, Syria, January 6, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters, wounded during the battle to capture Taftanaz air base, receive treatment at a field hospital in northern Idlib, Syria, January 6, 2013.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter feeds a cat in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, January 6, 2013.
    • A man rides his bicycle past buildings damaged by shelling in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, January 6, 2013.
    • A family crosses a street piled with garbage in Aleppo, Syria, January 5, 2013.

    In his first public speech since June, Assad called for a political solution to the country's conflict. He told loyalists at the Damascus Opera House that Syria is at war with its "enemies," but denied the existence of a popular revolution.

    He demanded Western and regional powers stop funding and arming Syrian rebels, repeating his longstanding description of the fighters as al-Qaida terrorists seeking to tear apart the country.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Assad has not understood the demands of the people or his own responsibility for what has happened in Syria.

    "That he bears no responsibility at all... He is making the wrong deductions. He is making wrong deductions about the historical process that is happening and continues to happen in Syria," said Davutoglu."That means he is boxed up in a room and only reads intelligence reports that were given to him with the aim of gaining his favor."

    Davutoglu also said Assad "does not have a plan for the future" and cannot make progress by denying the existence of the Syrian opposition.

    Opposition coalition members repeated their demand for Assad to leave power as a condition for talks. They have long dismissed his offers of political concessions as too little, too late.

    In his speech, Assad described the opposition as a Western puppet. He also lamented the destruction caused by the civil war, saying there is "no joy while security and stability are absent" on Syrian streets.

    His loyalist audience frequently interrupted him with chants of "with our soul, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for you" and mobbed him as he left the stage.

    The United Nations has estimated that at least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, when President Assad began suppressing what started as peaceful pro-democracy protests. The protests evolved into an armed rebellion aimed at ending the Assad family's four-decade authoritarian rule.

    You May Like

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Anonymous
    January 07, 2013 9:02 PM
    Rm .. Also...

    The world should hear what the civilians of Homs or Aleppo have to say about the bombardments in their areas, many of which lost their family members, homes, businesses., their minds. Sad Sad situation we have here, all at the hands of a reckless ex-dicatator. What he does from here on in is just simply destruction and killing to the Syrian Nation as a whole. He can walk away now and stop the bloodshed. Or he can continue and end up destroying much more and many more lives and lose, period.

    by: Rm from: uk
    January 07, 2013 5:42 PM
    lets ask the residents of 'Hoola' What they think of Assad et al - OH we cant they were all murdered by assad crony loyalists including children. Go figure.

    by: kanaikaal irumporai from: .
    January 07, 2013 5:17 PM
    Yes in deed!, it's detached from reality, as Assad is no longer considered the beloved friend of the West. If this were Mahinda Rajapakshe of Sri Lanka, then this same Obama and his henchmen will rally around him, first to assist in actual Genocide, then hide the issue and afterwards help the same abomination to further the structural Genocidal agenda. Above all, if some voices arise against such acts, then Obama and his administration will propose an unprecedented approach to deliver justice to the victims by allowing the accused to do the investigation, try themselves and sentence if found guilty. It's a matter of Geopolitics!, but the truth will soon be known when Assad is toppled and a new regime comes into being. There's going to another Taliban or Al-Qa’ida oppressing the same Syrian people, while threatening Israel every minute.

    by: Anonymous
    January 07, 2013 2:59 PM
    "Bahrain's opposition activists were convicted of forming 'terrorist' groups to overthrow Bahrain's ruling Al Khalifa family and engaging in 'intelligence contacts' with foreign powers."

    Oh the irony of US Middle East policy, Bahrain is given a "Free Pass" to oppression.

    by: beercan thick from: ulan bator, mongolia
    January 07, 2013 2:48 PM
    who cares what the us says, they should just mind their own bussiness , they have their own problems with that clown president.....

    by: Anonymous
    January 07, 2013 1:51 PM
    The guy is a lunatic, he will drop bombs and shoot missles at towns and cities as a form of revenge for people not liking him. He considers anyone of opposition a terrorist. Bashar does not represent the hearts, minds and souls of the Syrian people. He would rather inflict terror on civilians in a hope that he can break their will into liking him, but it is backfiring on him. Every day more and more people dislike this man as he kills more and more civilians. On the streets we see chaos with people chanting how much they hate him for what he has done. However in his speech (which had his military and their families in the audience chanting) , all this did was make the opposition even more fueled and mad. Just because he is a doctor doesn't mean he isn't a psychopath. Too bad Bashar couldn't spend a week in makeshift hospitals treating the children or elderly. He showed no sorrow whatsoever to the people he killed even if it was an accident (which it wasn't).

    by: s from: ca
    January 07, 2013 1:47 PM
    I cant belive that people actually still just go with what the media stands for. Unless you have lived there you cannot just express or assume that the Assad Regime is the best. A great leader applies Law not his own created Law. In the U.S we have freedom of speech in Syria you have none. This is why people are always scared. Tv is controlled, Internet is controlled, electricity is conrtolled how you dress is controlled. Imagine yourself living that way. We are in 2013. You speak of Islamic groups are the issues are you awar that the Assad Regime is an Islamic group of thier own everyone thinks that we are all the same but we are not True Islam is not like the Assad Regime or like Bin Ladin or like Nasrallah or the Iranian president

    True Islam is peacful. For everyones information there are many Chritian arabs that live in all of those countries as well who are effected by all of this. So again before you take sides based on the facts that are just provided to you by the media. Try going out side of the box and then make a decision. I am sure you would not want to be living in a place where your own mother is raped just because her son or husband has spoken his mind, or just think about your baby girl being raped infront of your eyes and not be able to do anything while they torture you. How do you people sleep at night ???

    by: Trisha Lynn Dragon
    January 07, 2013 1:31 PM
    Hows about we shut our face and mind our own darn business shall we? We are buried in a crapton of our own garbage, I'm thinking it's time to shut up and shovel. Keep an eye on whats up to be sure, but let Egypt mind Egypt's business. If they for some psychotic reason ASK for our opinion, then we should.
    We got work to do folks, mind ya business.

    by: Michael from: USA
    January 07, 2013 9:26 AM
    Assad's reconciliation conference is really a hope to rebuild broken contacts with outside resources in a meeting mediated by ETIQUETTE, where of course no one would surrender themselves, and seems to be based on early Syrian conquer-rebuild ideas. So its not really out of contact with reality, it is simply from a different age than ours

    by: Grin Olsson from: Alaska
    January 07, 2013 6:17 AM
    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland statement is nothing short of insanity at its best. She forgets that Osama bin Laden's dream of democracy via an "Arab Spring" is to bring forth a Sunni Islamic Empire to replace the Sunni Ottoman Empire at the expense of all minorities. Indeed, Winston Churchill warned the world about Islamic extremists and we have failed to heed his words. As an American I can only say we need to disengage from the Middle East and if we are to take sides, we should be on the Syrian government's side.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora