News / USA

    White House Responds to Putin, Says Military Aid Flowing to Syrian Rebels

    President Barack Obama awaits the start of a meeting with members of his cabinet, Sept. 12, 2013, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
    President Barack Obama awaits the start of a meeting with members of his cabinet, Sept. 12, 2013, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
    President Barack Obama is hopeful that U.S.-Russian talks can bring about a diplomatic solution on Syria and its chemical weapons.  The White House meanwhile has responded to a newspaper commentary by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and discussed U.S. military aid to Syrian rebels.  

    Beginning a cabinet meeting Thursday, President Obama referred to the talks the United States and Russia are holding in Geneva.

    "I am hopeful that the discussions that Secretary Kerry had with Foreign Minister Lavrov as well as some of the other players in this can yield a concrete result.  And I know that he is going to be working very hard over the next several days to see what the possibilities are there," he said.

    Obama did not respond to shouted questions on another topic making news - Russian President Vladimir Putin's strong comments about Syria and a potential U.S military strike, published in The New York Times.

    Putin said any strike "would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism," and could negatively effect efforts to address Iran's nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  

    He also said there is "every reason" to believe opposition fighters were the ones responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria in a bid to draw an outside military response.

    The Russian leader also challenged Obama's statement in his Tuesday address that while America cannot be the world's policeman, it's willingness to act when it can with "modest risk"  to stop people being gassed makes America "different" and "exceptional."

    Press Secretary Jay Carney called it a "great irony" that Putin would make use of the tool of freedom of expression, which he called a "truly exceptional tradition" in America, and which he said is "on the decrease in Russia."

    "The fact is that Russia offers a stark contrast that demonstrates why America is exceptional.  Unlike Russia, the U.S. stands up for democratic values and human rights in our own country and around the world, and we believe our global security is advanced when children cannot be gassed to death by a dictator," Carney said.

    Carney said Putin has "invested his credibility" in the diplomatic initiative to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control and ultimately destroying them.

    But he added that Russia is "isolated and alone" in blaming Syria's opposition for the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

    Obama's spokesman also was asked about military aid the administration announced earlier this year would begin flowing to Syrian rebels.

    Carney responded to a statement by General Salim Idris, head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who has said rebels are still waiting for arms and ammunition.

    "We cannot detail every single type of support that we are providing to the opposition or discuss timelines for delivery.  But it is important to note that both the political and the military opposition are, and will be, receiving this assistance," he said.

    Syria's opposition has condemned the diplomatic initiative being discussed in Geneva.  General Idris, in a National Public Radio interview, called Putin a "terrorist" and "a liar" for supporting the Assad regime.

    On Russia's role in seeking a diplomatic solution, White House Press Secretary Carney was asked if Obama trusts Putin.

    Saying "actions speak louder than words", Carney said only that if a diplomatic solution can avert use of military force, "credit will be due to the Russians and to everyone else who participates".

    You May Like

    Brexit Vote Triggers Increase in Racist Attacks

    Britain's decision to leave European Union seen by some as 'permission' to unleash anti-immigrant resentment

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    AIIB Takes Big Strides Amid Fears About China's Dominance

    Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says it is independent, but concerns persist; China holds 20.6 percent of bank's shares, others have less than 7.5 percent each

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora