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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: James Padgett from: Los Angeles, CA
    January 07, 2013 5:48 AM
    This article is full of the propaganda and spin that the CIA and West is putting on the crisis in Syria. The truth is that most of the Syrian people strongly support Assad. The truth is he has never and is not killing his own people. The U.S. and West want to remove him since he is an ally of Iran - to make it easier to remove Iran's Ahmadinejad. Syria did nothing to the U.S. to provoke the criminal and illegal iactions of the U.S. to remove Assad. Thank God more and more of the U.S. people are becoming awarre of the nefarious ways their govt. criminally involves itself overrseas, and is not remaining totally sheepled and dumbed down by the mainstream media.

    Thank God Russia is keeping Assad in power (along with Iran and China) so that the country's secular moderate regime is not replaced by another extremist Islamic regime. WOuld to God the morons in pentagon see that it is not in the U.S.' interest to have another extremist Islamic regime. The truth is that all Christian and Catholic leaders express hope that Assad will overcome this challenge to his regime, as they all see an extremist Islamic regime coming from the presence of 10,000 plus jiahdists fighting in their country.
         

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora