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VOA English Newscast: 1500 UTC March 1, 2016

Civilians try to fix damaged pipes in a rebel held town days before a ceasefire was agreed to.
Civilians try to fix damaged pipes in a rebel held town days before a ceasefire was agreed to.

From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Joe Palka reporting.

Syrian President weighs in on ceasefire…

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Tuesday the cessation of hostilities in his country's five-year war is a "glimmer of hope." In a German television interview, President Assad said his government will do its part to make the truce work.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the next few days "critical" in building momentum toward the goal of de-escalating the Syrian conflict.

" determining whether or not we are able to develop some real momentum towards a de-escalation of the conflict. That is the goal here. And we’re, of course, under no illusions about the obstacles that still exist. This is hard. But the fact is that we need to stop the cycle of fighting and the bloodshed that is destroying Syria."

Opposition spokesman Salem al-Meslat says the ceasefire is in jeopardy because of repeated violations by Syrian and Russian forces.

"There has to be a power that really stops what Russia and what the (Assad) regime is doing. I don't think the regime or Russia will stick to this truce, and we hope that they will not break it.

There was a noticeable uptick in violation claims on Monday. Meanwhile, the U.N. and aid partners began humanitarian deliveries on Monday with the goal of reaching more than 150,000 Syrians in besieged areas.

The United Nations warned Tuesday that Europe is near a "self-induced humanitarian crisis" because governments are imposing border restrictions and failing to work together as migrants continue to reach the continent.

Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, said more than 130,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean this year, most of them reaching Greece. The two-month total is near the figure for the first six months of last year.

This is VOA news.


Words in This New

weighs in – v. to state one’s opinion on an issue

cessation – n. stoppage; a halt in some action

glimmer – n. a small amount of sign of something; a weak light

interview – n. questioning someone for information

momentum – n. the strength or force that enables something to continue or to grow

de-escalating – v. reducing in amount or intensity

determining – v. to officially decide something

of course – phrase naturally

obstacle – n. a barrier

cycle – n. a series of actions that happen again and again

bloodshed – n. violence; unrest

jeopardy – n. danger; risk of death or loss

regime – n. a form of government

stick to – v. to obey; to follow

uptick – n. increase

meanwhile – adv. at or during the same time

delivery – n. the act of taking something to a person or place

besiegedadj. of or related to being surrounded by police or soldiers;

self-induced – adj. brought about by oneself

imposing – v. ordering; establishing

migrant – n. people who move from place to place for a job or economic reasons

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