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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs