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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs