News / Middle East

US Congressional Panel Seeks to Aid Syrian Opposition

In this image taken from amateur video made available by Sham News Network in Syria  on Dec. 13, 2011, shows pro-government militia on the street in Daraa, Syria.
In this image taken from amateur video made available by Sham News Network in Syria on Dec. 13, 2011, shows pro-government militia on the street in Daraa, Syria.
TEXT SIZE - +
Cindy Saine

A congressional subcommittee panel on Wednesday examined U.S. policy toward Syria, asking what lawmakers can do to help the opposition as the Damascus government crackdown on the Syrian people continues.  Some lawmakers questioned whether the Obama administration should continue to advocate for a peaceful resolution in Syria in the face of widespread violence.

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs who attended the hearing echoed calls by President Barack Obama for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and end the nine months of killing, detention and torture of demonstrators.

But some lawmakers, including Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee Chairman Republican Steve Chabot, questioned calls by the Obama administration for a peaceful resolution to the uprising in Syria.

"This puts us into a difficult position insofar as it brings into question whether we would continue to support the opposition if it were to fight back against the regime's brutality," said Chabot.

Speaking for the Obama administration, the Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs of Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, Frederic Hof said that is what the Damascus government is trying to provoke.

"It is clear what the strategy of the Assad regime is," said Hof.  "It is to attempt to channel peaceful resistance, which it cannot handle - it has no clue how to handle peaceful resistance - channel it as best it can in the direction of insurrection because it believes it knows how to handle insurrection."

Hof said the Obama administration respects the right of the Syrian people to defend themselves in the face of government violence.  He said the Syrian opposition is working with the Arab League to plan for a peaceful transition when the current Syrian government is gone.  Hof said the "nightmare" of repression for the Syrian people might continue for some time, but that it will end.

"When the regime is gone, the Syrian people can be assured that they will have plenty of help in rebuilding and reforming their state, and recovering the honor and dignity squandered by those who have served themselves at Syria's expense," added Hof.

Hof called on the Syrian opposition to reach out to religious minority groups in the country and assure them that change is coming, and that they will be invited to play a central role in that change.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid