News / Middle East

Syria's 'Friends' Pledge More Support for Rebels

Khalid al-Attiyah, left, Qatari acting minister of business and trade, and Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim, listen as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a meeting of the London 11
Khalid al-Attiyah, left, Qatari acting minister of business and trade, and Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim, listen as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a meeting of the London 11 "Friends of Syria" meeting in Doha, Qatar, June 22, 2013.
Foreign Ministers from countries backing Syrian rebels met in Doha Saturday to better coordinate military support. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says they are still pushing for a political solution to the conflict.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani says battlefield gains by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad show that governments backing his opponents are not doing enough. The prime minister spoke here through a translator.

"All the Arab and international efforts to end the Syrian tragedy have failed, rendering the international community a helpless observer that can not deal with the situation," Al Thani said.

The prime minister hosted a meeting of foreign ministers from France, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States -- all supporters of the opposition.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are thought to have been arming Syrian rebels for some time, with most of those weapons passing through Jordan and Turkey. The United States is looking to start military support for Assad opponents. So this meeting was meant to sort out who is doing what.

Secretary of State Kerry says helping the opposition Supreme Military Council is not meant to diminish efforts at direct talks on a transitional authority for Syria.

"We do so not to seek a military solution," Kerry said. "We do so to come to the table and find a political settlement. Reliable civilian governance and a stronger and more effective armed opposition will better enable the opposition to be able provide the counter-weight to the initiative of Assad to reach out across borders to bring Iranians and to bring Hezbollah -- again a terrorist organization -- to the table."

Prime Minister Al Thani, who is also Qatar's foreign minister, says the Assad victory in Qusair would not have been possible without the active support of Iran and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah. Again speaking through a translator, the prime minister said Syrian rebels need more help to offset that advantage.

"The use of force may be necessary to reach rightness, the provision and use of arms might be the only way to achieve peace, especially in the Syrian case, he said. "As such, moral support alone shall not be enough for the Syrian people."

Secretary Kerry would not say what sort of weapons the United States plans to provide, explaining that all countries are choosing their own approach to increase the scope and scale of their assistance.

Rebels are asking for anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.

Russia is selling weapons to Assad forces and says governments that support the opposition should not arm the rebellion because it says those weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs