News / Middle East

World Awaits UN Findings on Syria

World Awaits UN Findings on Syria Chemical Attacki
X
September 14, 2013 1:14 PM
The long-awaited United Nations report on Syria's alleged chemical weapon attack on civilians in August is due out Monday. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more on what it is expected to say and what impact the report may have.
VIDEO: How long-awaited United Nations report on Syria's alleged chemical weapon attack, which is due Monday, affects civil war that has taken more than 100,000 lives remains unclear.
The long-awaited United Nations report on Syria's alleged chemical weapon attack on civilians in August is due out Monday. 

The images of the aftermath of the alleged attack are haunting - children suffering and bodies lined up on the ground.

Now, after U.N. inspectors have examined the site and collected boxes of evidence, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says the findings likely will leave little doubt.

“I believe the report will be an overwhelming report that the chemical weapons was used,” he said.

The secretary-general also took aim at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"He has committed many crimes against humanity. And therefore, I'm sure that there will be, surely, the process of accountability when everything is over," he said.

But how any of this affects a civil war that has taken more than 100,000 lives remains unclear, especially since the report itself will not assign blame.

“Russia will continue to deny that it was the Syrian government and the United States and Britain and France will continue to insist it was.  And that division will continue to hamper a clear U.N. resolution with enforcement power,” said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

In the meantime, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has continued his public offensive, appearing on Russian TV, denying that Syria used chemical weapons and dismissing U.S. threats of a military response.

At the U.N., Syria's ambassador Bashar Ja'afari sounded confident.

"We have nothing to hide.  On the contrary, we are waiting, expecting, calling on the team of investigators to come up with their full report," he said. 

But as the conflict rages, Murhaf Jouejati, a former member of the rebel Syrian National Council, believes the U.N. report may finally sway many in the U.S. and elsewhere who don't want to get involved.

"I think that [undecided] segment of the population will change their minds, therefore releasing or enabling authorities in the U.S. or even in Britain to have a stronger case for a show of force against Syria," said Jouejati.

For now, the fate of Syria is being left in the hands of diplomats, hoping to rid Syria of chemical weapons and somehow get all sides to lay down their arms.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Italian Red Cross Chief: Don't Label Migrants 'Illegal'

Speaking at the United Nations headquarters in New York Wednesday Francesco Rocca says migrants are victims, not criminals More

US Intel Officials Cautious About New IS Threat

Threat, said to have been posted by alleged American member of Islamic State terror group, says Sunday’s attack in Texas ‘is only the beginning’ More

Eyes in Sky Monitor Weather, Predict Epidemics

Satellites track storms, population movements, ocean warming to predict disease conditions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ettore Greco
September 14, 2013 9:48 PM
Also visible in the Animal kingdom, the brutal Strength is no better or worse than the deadly Deception.

Two are the Hands to cross and shape our World
to mold It like a vase of clay and put their own seal
the scepter of command, illusion of reward
to drive at will one Destiny with no steering wheel

In the last World war, the Hand of Strength and Hand of Deception have crossed once again.

Strength personified by the Axis and Deception by the Allies.
Gestapo versus CIA.

One long scar still bleeds over this Planet.

With Strength defeated, the winners of the War have extended their cunning Hand, robbed the whole World and transformed each town in a place where Deception is the only reality.

Two new blocks were soon formed right after the War.

UK and USA celebrated Capitalism
while
Russia instead was infatuated with Communism

The Two Hands had only changed gloves.

It is time for a new Humankind.

http://www.wavevolution.org/en/humanwaves.html


by: Doris Loadburp from: UK
September 14, 2013 4:04 PM
I smell the CIA, I smell a RAT!!!

by: Whistleblower1 from: Washinton D.C.
September 14, 2013 11:25 AM
And while Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s comments were taken out of context, that he has seemingly failed to also call for accountability of Syria’s so-called “opposition” smacks of partiality – partiality exhibited by the UN throughout the Syrian conflict. Additionally, the UN’s failure to question who in fact is arming, funding, and logistically supporting verified terrorist organizations within and around Syria’s borders is equally troubling.

Al Qaeda has been active in Syria since the conflict began, and according to the US State Department’s own assessment titled, “Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa’ida in Iraq:”

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

Could the UN be so out of touch with reality that it doesn’t realize an operation of this scale surely is state-sponsored, and that the question of who is funding, arming, and otherwise supporting such an extensive operation never seemed important enough to publicly ask?

Examining the UN’s role in the Syrian crisis must also include its 2011 UN Human Rights Council’s report (full text .pdf), and its most recent report published August of this year (.doc). These are nothing more than a collection of “interviews” conducted abroad with “witnesses” provided by Syrian “opposition groups” and alleged defectors, augmented with fabrications and biased spin provided by Western-funded “NGOs” openly working for armed militants inside Syria.

by: Whistleblower1 from: Washington D.C.
September 14, 2013 11:24 AM
The bottom line regarding the UN’s upcoming report regarding the August 21, 2013 chemical weapons attack in Damascus, Syria is best summed up by the BBC’s article, “Syria crisis: UN report to confirm chemical arms attack”.

Ban Ki-moon made no comment on who was to blame for the 21 August attack in the Ghouta area of Damascus, as that is not part of the report’s remit.

Despite this, the United States and its axis of collaborators are already trying to spin the report as confirmation that the Syrian government was responsible.

Relying entirely on the momentum of its massive media networks and their ability to “will” reality into any shape they please, headlines such as “United Nations’ Syria chemical weapons report “overwhelming,” shamelessly attempt to link two out of context statements by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon regarding the Syria government’s “crimes against humanity” and the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Damascus Syria, to place in the mind of readers assigned blame for the attacks.

In reality, the UN inspectors that were stampeded out of Damascus in the middle of their work, fearing an impending unilateral US military attack, were only attempting to determine how victims in eastern Damascus died, not who killed them. Independent assessments of who was responsible for the attack have not been carried out. The best the US has been able to do is suggest terrorists operating in Syria were incapable of such an attack, leaving only the Syrian government as a possible suspect.

Of course this single point of contention is dispelled by the US’ own policy in the region. CNN’s “Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons,” reported that:

The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.

The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

Militant groups operating inside Syria with Western “contractors” (read: mercenaries, see: Blackwater) are more than capable of handling and deploying the weapons, and therefore more than capable of carrying out the attacks in question. The only argument left for the US is whether or not these militants, aligned with Al Qaeda, possess the will or motivation to do so. That doing so and framing the Syrian government would serve as impetus for direct US military intervention and therefore the salvation of the crumbling militant offensive, is more than motivation enough.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

VOA Blogs