News / USA

Washington Week: Focus on Syria

Washington Week: Focus on Syriai
X
August 25, 2013 5:36 PM
Washington is focused on a possible U.S. response to evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria. U.S. naval forces have moved closer to Syria, and the Obama administration is weighing options amid U.N. efforts to pinpoint the cause of hundreds of deaths last week near Damascus. VOA's Michael Bowman reports.
Washington Week: Focus on Syria
Michael Bowman
Washington is focused on a possible U.S. response to evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria. U.S. naval forces have moved closer to Syria, and the Obama administration is weighing options amid U.N. efforts to pinpoint the cause of hundreds of deaths last week near Damascus.
 
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says America’s armed forces are ready to act on any orders President Barack Obama may give in response to events in Syria.
 
“President Obama has asked the Defense Department to prepare options for all contingencies. We have done that and, again, we are prepared to exercise whatever options if he decides to employ one of those options,” said Hagel.
 
Saturday, the president met with his national security team and spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron. A statement from London said the two leaders agree that “significant use of chemical weapons would merit a serious response from the international community.”
 
The United Nations says an inspection team has been promised access to locations where chemical agents are believed to have been used. The Syrian government blames rebels for any release of toxins. Rebel commanders say the Assad regime has consistently lied to the world.
 
A hands-off approach by the United States is unacceptable, according to Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad al-Jarba.
 
“I ask and demand that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, as the head of the country that has the strongest presence in the international community, takes personal responsibility for what has happened.”
 
For now, Western governments want confirmation that chemical weapons have been used. Meguerditch Terzian of the international relief group Doctors Without Borders is convinced that some form of neurotoxin was released in Syria.
 
“If there is a massive arrival of patients within a short period of time from the same location with neurotoxic symptoms, with a lot of deaths, it means that a serious neurotoxic agent has been used in Damascus recently,” said Terzian.
 
Evidence of chemical weapons use has been widely condemned, including by one of Syria’s staunchest allies, Iran.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs