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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs