On a sunny afternoon in the dusty, overcrowded Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, a group of Syrian girls recites a familiar pledge and hope to change their future. The youngsters promise to serve God and country, to help people at all times and live by the laws of the Girl Scouts.
The troop was organized by Hanna Vazquez, a volunteer with Mercy Corps, a U.S.-based humanitarian group.
"We are going to do the Girl Scout music badge," she says, as the girls gather around.
Steve Scher talks with Edward Chaiban, UNICEF's director of Emergency Programmes, about how the conflict in Syria has affected the local children.
UNICEF recently released a report that stated at least 10,000 children were killed in the violence, and almost 3 million children in Syria and in neighboring countries are unable to go to school on a regular basis.
Steve Scher discusses the changing relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States with Frederic Wehrey, senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
A Syrian deputy prime minister has said this week that peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition forces could begin next month in Geneva. The United States and Russia have not yet set a date for the talks however, and a spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon could not confirm the dates reported in Syrian state media.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 8:40 am
The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded the 2013 peace prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a group that's only recently been thrust into the spotlight as it works to dismantle Syria's chemical program.
The OPCW, which is based at the Hague, was established in 1997 and now has an annual budget of $100 million and a staff of about 500 people. Here's a profile of the group.
There are now more than two million Syrian refugees and some local nonprofits are working to help them. Rita Zawaideh is a Seattle businesswoman who travels to Jordan every other month to bring refugees medical supplies. She started the nonprofit Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle in 1996.
She recently returned from one of those trips. She and other volunteers saw thousands of patients and handed out hundreds of pounds of medicine.
The United Nations General Assembly opened this week and on the top of the agenda is the crisis in Syria. UN weapons inspectors said that based on their investigation, chemical weapons were definitely used in an August 21 attack of a city on the outskirts of Damascus.
While many officials believe evidence points to Bashar al-Assad's government as being the perpetrator of the attack, Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday that the UN and Western officials have incorrectly tied the Syrian government to that attack.
Fred Weir is the Moscow correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, he explains why Russia is still blaming the Syrian rebels for the chemical weapons attack.
Imam Jamal Rahman, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Pastor Don Mackenzie came together just after the Iraq War began. They wanted to find a way to discuss politics and faith and to use their religious convictions to forge a path to dialogue and eventually peace.
The Amigos were originally going to be in studio to discuss the subject of compassion and consciousness, but the unfolding events in Syria hijacked our conversation. We talked about whether President Obama’s original proposal to launch a military attack in retaliation for Syria’s use of chemical weapons was the right way forward on this issues.
The United Nations inspectors say they have convincing evidence that chemical weapons were used in a large scale attack in Syria last month. In a report released earlier today the inspectors said the samples they collected from an area of Damascus provided clear and convincing evidence that the nerve agent sarin was used.
The inspectors were not charged with determining who launched the chemical weapons. The news closely follows this weekend’s announcement that Russia and the United States had reached agreement on a framework for Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons program. The United States and its allies say military force is still a possibility if Syria fails to follow through on its agreement. Meanwhile the war in Syria continues.
Borzou Daragahi has been covering events in the Middle East for the Financial Times. He’s based in Cairo. He explains what the reaction in the Middle East has been to the announcement that Syria would give up its chemical weapons.
The diplomatic wrangling over Syria's chemical weapons stockpile has grabbed all the international headlines. But fighting on the ground continues to upend the lives of Syria's civilians.
Last week, armed rebels entered the ancient Christian town of Maaloula. The civilians who live there – half of them Christian, the other half Muslim - fled. The BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen has been with Syrian army units trying to recapture the town.
A BBC correspondent in Syria has said the battle for an ancient Christian town is continuing, despite reports that government forces had retaken it. Jeremy Bowen said that a heavy gunfight with rebels was continuing in Maaloula, with smoke rising into the sky.
President Obama used a White House address on Tuesday night to delay a vote on military action against Syria in favor of a possible diplomatic solution. So far the Canadian government has lent moral support to the President’s cause, but no more. Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer talks with Marcie Sillman about the Canadian reaction to the President's speech.
The international community may soon be charged with the destruction of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpile. After the US and Russia, Syria is assumed to have the world’s third largest stock of sarin, mustard gas and other toxic weapons.
The US began the process of destroying its chemical weapons in the 1990s, after it signed the International Chemical Weapons Treaty. Umatilla, Ore., was once home to one of the nine US Army installations that house chemical weapons. Umatilla staff successfully finished the process of dismantling that weapons stockpile in October of 2011.
Our Richland correspondent Anna King explains how they went about the process of destroying chemical weapons.