News / Middle East

Airstrikes Killed 43 in N. Syria, Activists Say

Residents try to extinguish damaged buildings on fire after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Erbeen, near Damascus, October 18, 2012.
Residents try to extinguish damaged buildings on fire after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Erbeen, near Damascus, October 18, 2012.
VOA News
Syrian activists and medical officials say a series of government air strikes on rebel areas in the country's north has killed at least 43 people, including many children.

The activists said the strikes happened late Wednesday and early Thursday and hit five areas in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, including the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan which is strategically located along the Damascus-Aleppo highway. The road connects Syria's two largest cities.

Insurgents who have been attempting to cut the Syrian Army’s supply lines to Aleppo took control of Maaret al-Numan earlier this month.

Graphic video of the strikes posted online show leveled buildings and survivors pulling bodies from the debris. Activist claims and video could not be independently verified.

The bombings come as international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi repeated calls for a temporary cease-fire he says could form the basis for a real truce in the war-torn country. A United Nations spokesman said Brahimi will arrive in Damascus on Friday in an attempt to broker the cease-fire.

Syria Regional Refugee ResponseSyria Regional Refugee Response
x
Syria Regional Refugee Response
Syria Regional Refugee Response
The U.N.-Arab League envoy told reporters Thursday after meeting Jordan's foreign minister that a respite in hostilities could build confidence and help bring about a longer truce in the 19-month-old conflict.

A previous cease-fire in April collapsed after just a few days, with each side blaming the other. Then-mediator Kofi Annan resigned from his post in frustration.

Forced disappearances

Meanwhile, a global online activist group is calling attention to thousands of cases of forced disappearances in Syria, saying government security forces and paramilitary groups are using the tactic to terrorize families and communities.

Avaaz released testimony Thursday from family members of those arrested, detained or abducted in Syria since the crisis began in March of last year. It says it will hand the cases to the United Nations Human Rights Council for investigation.

A spokesman for the group, Ian Bassin, said the sheer scale of the operation may signal that the government is using the tactic as a tool of intimidation.

"Imagine the horror of not knowing what has happened to your father, your wife, your brother, your son," said Bassin." They've been taken. You don't know if they're alive or dead, if they're being tortured or in pain, if they'll ever come back again. For a lot of people, the hope that maybe if I stay silent, maybe if I comply and I don't oppose the government, maybe then I'll see my loved one again is a way of keeping the opposition down. And that may be what we're seeing in Syria," he said.

The organization's report cites human rights groups and lawyers saying at least 28,000 - and as many as 80,000 - people have been forcibly taken.

Avaaz stopped updating its own totals in July 2011 with just under 3,000 cases, saying the situation on the ground in Syria had made it too difficult to verify the accounts.

Also Thursday, Syria's state-run SANA news agency said terrorists blew up a gas pipeline and an oil pipeline. It said the explosions happened in the Deir Ezzor area, and quoted an oil ministry official saying repairs to the pipelines would begin soon.

The Syrian government refers to rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as "terrorists."

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: RIDave from: U.S.A.
October 19, 2012 2:50 PM
Why are the terms used for identifying the people involved with these demonstrations (riots) different in various articles? --------------activists; insurgents, rebels, terrorists, etc, etc, etc,---


by: Anonymous
October 18, 2012 10:51 PM
Broker a cease fire? You've got to be kidding. Assad will never go for that.

I suggest they broker Assad to give himself up or face international courts.

Assad has killed nearly 30,000 people, 90% of which were elderly men and women, innocent wives, little boys and girls, and hard working male citizens.

I think its time a country steps in and puts an end to Assad and his killing spree once and for all. To hell with Russia and China, if they feel "Right" about defending a tyrant mass murderer let it be. We shouldn't be concerned in the slightest about what Russia or China has to say. Do they really think they are defending someone who is innocent? Give it a rest Russia and China.


by: dale from: santa cruz mountains
October 18, 2012 4:29 PM
"the civil war has torn apart the longtime coexistence among ethnic and religious groups under the rule of the secular Baath party of President Bashar Assad and his father before him. "

Activists (ie foreign armed rebels) are killing anyone who leaves 2 villages in northern Syria, since loyalists are thought to be taking refuge in the villages.

People who are committing suicide bombings and shooting "anyone" who leaves a village are N0T activists; they are warriors and their reports must be seen as propaganda efforts to suck in more foreign support.

Why not give the new democratically supported multi-party Constitution a chance? Because the exact goal of this war is to destabilize the fragment the Middle East into warring factions....as a means of intensifying Western influence and control. We did it in Iraq...and they are still blowing each other up; now we are doing it in Syria, and they are still blowing each other up. This descent into sectarian ethnic cleansing is a great success!


by: Yamani from: Yemen
October 18, 2012 3:40 PM
hi Syria, when USA is convinced that a new president is better than Asad, then bye to Asad.


by: Yamani from: Yemen
October 18, 2012 3:35 PM
the word Insurgents in the article means that you still not convinced that what is going on Syria is revolution.

In Response

by: Anonymous
October 19, 2012 12:57 AM
Its a "revolution" by Saudi,Gatar,kuwaitis turkies against Syria.


by: musawi melake
October 18, 2012 3:14 PM
Well, these No.s mean nothing as long as there are hundreds of Jihadis born and bread of the western world are willing to travel to Syria to become Martyrs. It's been said that many have already joined the so called rebels. The fact is that these kids as young as 14 to 15 year have been brain-washed by the islamist elements in these countries to be used as cannon fodder, while they themselves enjoy the luxury of Western living standards. It seem the West is turning a blind eye to the developments just because they want their aim of finishing-off Assad is to fast-tracked, but the West may be making the same mistake as its Afghanistan of the 80s, that gave birth to Binladan.


by: fedlu from: ethiopia
October 18, 2012 10:56 AM
really it is bad news...


by: Anonymous
October 18, 2012 8:59 AM
"saying at least 28,000 - and as many as 80,000 - people have been forcibly taken", I think they have exaggerating the figures. Where is the proof to justify these numbers? To say "at least 28000" this "activist group" should present its rationale in arriving at the figures. Or, is this another false claim as part of a one sided propaganda effort?

In Response

by: Anonymous
October 19, 2012 1:00 AM
What a shame Libya is... sorry...

In Response

by: Libya from: Libya
October 18, 2012 1:45 PM
Yes, a dog to Asad stays a dog for ever. Congrates cowrds

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid