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 "Friends of Syria" meeting in Doha, Qatar, June 22, 2013.
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
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.
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.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid