World News

US Suspends Syrian Embassy Operations

The United States has told the Syrian government to immediately suspend operations at its embassy in Washington and two honorary consulates.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that Syrian diplomats who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must leave the country.



"Following the announcement that the Syrian embassy suspended its provision of consular services and in consideration of the atrocities the Assad regime has committed against the Syrian people, we have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations here in the United States."



Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the number of people killed and forced from their homes by three years of fighting, including "people attacked by their own government with gas."



"We just felt that the idea that this embassy is sitting here with representation, that we could take seriously, is an insult. And we closed it. It's that simple. And we'll see what happens in other places, but the Assad regime can never regain legitimacy in Syria. Whether they win, don't win, they can't regain legitimacy."



New U.S. special envoy for Syria Daniel Rubinstein said the U.S. wants to maintain diplomatic relations with the state of Syria as an expression of longstanding ties with the Syrian people, something he said will endure "long after Bashar al-Assad leaves power."

Meanwhile, Israel says its air force bombed Syrian military positions Wednesday in response to an attack on its forces in the Golan Heights. The targets included an army training facility, military headquarters and artillery batteries.



The Israeli military said an explosive device targeting its forces injured four soldiers on Tuesday. A spokesman called the blast "an unacceptable escalation of violence from Syria" and vowed that Israel would not tolerate threats to its forces.

Two weeks ago, Israeli troops shot two fighters from Lebanon's Hezbollah near the fence dividing Israeli and Syrian-held areas of the Golan. The Israeli army said they had been trying to plant a bomb near the barrier.

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The strategic plateau has seen occasional spillover violence from the Syrian civil war.

In Geneva, United Nations investigators said Tuesday they have added to their list of suspected war criminals from both sides in the Syrian civil war after a new round of atrocities in recent weeks.

Lead investigator Paulo Pinheiro said the U.N. inquiry has identified military units and security agencies as well as insurgent groups suspected of committing abuses.

He said a newly drafted 'perpetrators list' includes the names of intelligence branches and detention facilities where detainees are tortured, military commanders who target civilians, officials overseeing airports from where 'barrel bomb' attacks originate, and leaders of armed groups who attack civilians.

It is the most specific information revealed thus far about the identities of suspected war criminals on the list.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
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 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.

VOA Blogs