Daily VideoJanuary 22, 2014
Negotiations to end Syrian civil war begin in Switzerland
Negotiators from dozens of countries are arriving in Geneva, Switzerland, for the beginning of peace talks that aim to end Syria’s brutal civil war, which has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions from their homes.
“We are here to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people and the demands of the Syrian revolution,” said Badr Jamous, Secretary-General of the opposition’s Syrian National Council. “And we will not accept less than removing the criminal Bashar al-Assad and changing the regime and bringing the criminals to justice.”
However, Syrian refugees are less optimistic about the potential outcome of the talks.
“We have lost our faith in the international community. We don’t care about Geneva conference and whether it takes place or not,” said refugee Ibraheem Qaddah. “We have lost many of our relatives and friends and family members in the fighting, and we have lost Syria.”
Meanwhile, the question of Iran’s participation is raising tensions amongst the participating countries.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon invited Iran Sunday night, then disinvited the country yesterday. Iran has significant influence in the region, and is allied with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
Russia criticized the decision to not include Iran, saying, “Despite the largely ceremonial nature of the event, the absence of Iran in the list of 40 countries cannot but raise questions.”
As the talks get underway to resolve the three-year-long crisis, hopes are not high for a positive outcome in Switzerland.
Warm up questions
- Where is Syria? What is happening there?
- What role has the international community played in attempts to end Syria’s civil war? Which countries are involved and whose side are they on? For an infographic on the allies and enemies of the Syrian conflict please click here.
- Where is Iran? What do you know about Iran’s political role in the Middle East?
- What role is Iran playing at the conference, both symbolically and tactically?
- Why was the invitation to Iran rescinded and who rescinded it?
- What impact do you think this will have on the talks in Geneva? How effective can they be without Iran’s participation?
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Fighters from the Islamic State (ISIL) won several victories this week, raising U.S. concerns that the extremist group’s influence may be growing beyond control. Continue reading
As artificial intelligence gets better and better, traditional careers such as law and medicine will undergo radical changes, according to computer scientists. Continue reading
In the past year, the Islamic State (ISIL) has swept through the region, destroying hundreds-year-old antiquities and prompting looting at battle sites. Continue reading
50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the creation of Head Start, a government program that would affect millions of children for years to come. Continue reading
Fighters from the Islamic State (ISIL) captured the city of Ramadi over the weekend, prompting the Iraqi government to ask for increased U.S. military airstrikes and help from fighters supported by Iraq’s neighbor, Iran. Continue reading