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

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
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.

AppleAndroid