Saturday, July 19 2014 10:01 AM EDT2014-07-19 14:01:27 GMT
Activists say Syrian government forces have launched a counter-attack to recapture a gas field seized by Islamic extremists, as the death toll from three days of fighting rises to more than 200.More >>
Syrian government forces have launched a counter-attack to recapture a gas field seized by Islamic extremists, activists said Saturday, as the death toll from three days of fighting there rose to more than 200 people killed.More >>
Friday, July 18 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-07-18 18:29:45 GMT
Across the broad swath of territory it controls bridging Syria and Iraq, extremist militants from the group known as the Islamic State have proven to be highly organized administrators. Flush with cash, they fix...More >>
Across the broad swath of territory they control bridging Syria and Iraq, extremist militants from the group known as the Islamic State have proven to be highly organized administrators. Flush with cash, they fix roads,...More >>
Friday, July 18 2014 12:40 PM EDT2014-07-18 16:40:50 GMT
Activists say some 100 soldiers, guards and employees were killed when jihadis seized a gas field in central Syria on Thursday.More >>
Islamic extremists killed at least 115 Syrian troops, guards and workers as they captured a gas field in central Syria following daylong clashes, activists said Friday.More >>
(RNN) - While a diplomatic solution regarding Syria may be in the works, Secretary of State John Kerry took the time respond to some critical questions during a Google+ hangout Tuesday.
Syria has agreed to Russia's proposal to put the country's chemical weapons under international control and Kerry said he and President Barack Obama feel that is the best option.
"If we can, in fact, secure [all] the ... chemical weapons in Syria through this method, clearly that's by far the most preferable and would be a significant achievement," Kerry said.
When he was asked what, specifically, Russia and Syria need to do, Kerry responded, "they must show us a completely verifiable, completely accountable and ongoing verifiable process by which we know we have all of the weapons, access to the weapons, access to any sites in question, unlimited access … this cannot be a game."
According to the Associated Press, Kerry is set to meet with Russia's foreign minister Sergy Lavrov on Thursday in order to discuss Syria.
The bottom line, according to Kerry, is that "we need a full resolution from the U.N. security council."
If it comes to light that Russia and Syria are just "playing games," Kerry says that Obama "will make it clear the he retains his authority as president to protect our nation."
The civil war in Syria has been ongoing for two years, yet only now does it seem that the U.S. is concerned with the tremendous loss of life there. Kerry maintains that the U.S. is "deeply concerned about the overall loss of life in Syria" and the U.S. has spoken out against Assad in the past. The intelligence community has only now been able to make the judgment that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons.
"Chemical weapons were suddenly being used as a tactical weapon in a civil war, and any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable," said Kerry.
Recent polls show that Americans are against an air strike against Syria and want to know why the events in Syria matter to the United States.
"This matters to your security, to each of us individually as Americans," said Kerry. "We are, in fact, threatened by the use of weapons because this use of weapons breaks a standard about the use of chemical weapons that has been in place for nearly 100 years."
He went on to explain that the U.S. has a strategic interest and direct military alliances in the Middle East who are affected by the use of these weapons, and the U.S. must decry the use of such weapons. Otherwise, if the U.S. doesn't take a stand against the use of chemical weapons now, terrorists and others will use them and make the region more unstable and threaten the U.S. in the future, Kerry said.
Many Americans understand that the president is suggesting a limited strike against Syria, but they are worried that the U.S. will be subject to retaliation, and fear that the U.S. will get drawn into something larger.
"We are not going to go in and get involved in Syria's civil war," Kerry said.
The maximum that the U.S. will do is support the rebels, because they want help from the outside and are prepared to do their own fighting, Kerry said.
Kerry said the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria is a concern, as well.
"We are probably not doing enough, in some ways, we are doing as much as we can right now," he said.
He pointed out that the U.S. is the "largest humanitarian donor" to Syria and is "doing enormous amounts to get food and shelter to refugees" throughout the Middle East and Syria.
Finally, Kerry says that he hopes Walid al-Moallem and Bashar al-Assad take advantage of this chance to make peace in Syria and live up to the agreement with Russia to give up their chemical weapons.
"And even further, demonstrate the way in which they will try to help make the Geneva process work so that Syrians can choose a peaceful future that protects the rights of all people in Syria. End this civil war," said Kerry. "Help us be able to reach for peace."
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