News / Middle East

Obama to Discuss Syria Crisis

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Aug. 30, 2013.
President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Aug. 30, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama and top White House officials are holding talks on Syria's crisis as a U.N. chemical weapons team prepares to present its findings to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The White House says Obama will make a public statement on Syria Saturday. White House officials say the president will not announce an imminent military strike.

Friday, Obama said he is considering a "limited, narrow" response to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, the White House says senior national security officials are holding conference calls with Senate leaders on Saturday.

The flurry of U.S. discussions is expected to continue on Sunday when the White House plans on holding a classified briefing on Syria for the House of Representatives.

The U.N. inspection team wrapped up its work and left Syria on Saturday.

A spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the U.N. chief will be briefed further on Sunday by the head of the team. But in a Saturday briefing, the spokesman, Martin Nesirky, declined to say when the team would present its full report.

Nesirky said the team collected samples that will be analyzed in laboratories as well as witness statements and interviews with doctors and survivors.

The Syrian government has denied having any role in chemical weapons attacks.

Also, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it would be "utter nonsense" for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons when it is winning the war against "rebels."

In a Saturday statement, Putin urged the U.S. to allow the U.N. chemical weapons team to present its findings.

"As for the position of our American colleagues and friends who state that the government forces have used weapons of mass destruction, in this case used chemical weapons, and say that they have evidence - let them present them to the U.N. inspectors and the U.N. Security Council,'' he said.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. intelligence community had "high confidence" in a report indicating the Syrian government carried out a poison gas attack last week.

Kerry said the evidence, presented in a declassified version of a report, shows more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in the attack, including at least 426 children.

The U.N. inspectors collected samples from the sites of the alleged poison gas attacks in Damascus suburbs. The group will report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In another development, the opposition Syrian National Coalition and some civilians in Damascus say Syrian government forces have been rounding up political prisoners to potentially use as human shields during any military strikes.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
September 01, 2013 4:13 PM
Now assad is commanding attacks on Syrians from Iran.
Now is the time to shut this bastard down. He is terrorizing the nation from outside Syria. This is a terrorist crime. He should now officially be labelled a direct target by law enforcement worldwide. No ifs ands or buts.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs