News / Middle East

US: Syrian Detentions of Delegates' Families Defy Peace Talks

FILE - George Sabra, a veteran Christian opposition figure. His brother, Mahmoud, was arrested in Syria last week.
FILE - George Sabra, a veteran Christian opposition figure. His brother, Mahmoud, was arrested in Syria last week.
VOA News
The United States said the Syrian government is defying the international community's support of the country's peace talks after the reported detention of people related to opposition delegates taking part in the negotiations.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement late Wednesday the tactics are "not new behavior," and called on President Bashar al-Assad's government to immediately release those "unfairly arrested."

She highlighted the case of Mahmoud Sabra, the brother of an opposition delegate who the Syrian National Coalition said last week was arrested at a checkpoint and thought to be held by security forces in southern Damascus.

So far, two rounds of peace talks with U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi have produced little progress.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded to critics Wednesday, saying it is "asinine" to already characterize the process as a failure.

He cited the Vietnam War peace talks, which took more than four years, and the three years it took to resolve the conflict in Bosnia.

Psaki gave a similar message during a press briefing Wednesday, saying peace negotiations can take a very long time.

"Obviously, there are many multiple paths we're working on through the U.N., through engagement with countries in the region, engagement with the Russians, continuing to press the Syrian regime publicly to take more steps. So we're not resting on one step, and we'll see where it goes moving forward. But the most important piece here is that this has also kind of reinvigorated a unity among the international community about the path that is necessary moving forward, which is the implementation of the Geneva communique and the creation of a transitional governing body," said Psaki.

The Syrian conflict has stretched on for nearly three years, with the fighting killing well over 100,000 people and forcing more than 9 million from their homes.

Kerry said in an interview Wednesday with MSNBC that Assad is carrying out "wholesale killing" of his own people, and called the government's actions "unconscionable," "disgraceful" and "horrendous."

He said President Barack Obama is constantly assessing further options without taking any off the table, and that his administration is putting every energy into the situation in Syria.

Kerry said he is continuing to talk to allies, and that Syria will be a part of discussions next week as foreign ministers gather in Paris and Rome for conferences focusing on Lebanon and Libya.

He also said Russia is "increasing its assistance to Assad," which he said is not helping efforts to get the Syrian president to negotiate with the opposition in good faith.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid