News / Middle East

Syrian Government Forces Continue Crackdown

A Syrian refugee protects himself against the hot weather by wearing a plastic bowl on his head as he walks in a newly opened camp in Reyhanli, Turkey, June 24, 2011.
A Syrian refugee protects himself against the hot weather by wearing a plastic bowl on his head as he walks in a newly opened camp in Reyhanli, Turkey, June 24, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

Witnesses say that Syrian security forces moved into the Damascus suburb of Kaswah Saturday, a day after they surrounded the area and swooped down on protesters.  A Syrian rights group says at least 20 people were killed Friday in confrontations around the country between anti-goverment protesters and security forces.  The continuing clashes have sent large numbers of Syrians fleeing across the country's border with Lebanon.  Up to 1,000 Syrians are believed to have entered Lebanon during the past two days near the border town of Wadi Khaled.

A video on Facebook shows young protesters fleeing through a narrow street in the Damascus suburb of Kaswa Saturday as security forces storm the area. Witnesses say government tanks surrounded much of Kaswa, blocking it off from other regions. Dozens of protesters were also reportedly arrested in both Kaswa and the Barzeh neighborhood of Damascus.

Arab satellite channels showed video of thousands of mourners marching down a main avenue in Kaswa Saturday, carrying the coffins of three young men killed during Friday's protests.

A woman dressed in black screamed and shouted insults at the government as she hovered over the dead body of her thirteen-year-old son. A video on Facebook says that he was shot and killed by security forces in Kaswa Friday.

Syrian government TV claims that "armed gangs fired on security forces in Kaswa" Friday, wounding several. It added that 7 civilians and security forces were killed during the protests.

Syrian TV repeated a list of charges against protesters, claiming they "attacked fire trucks, blocked roads, threw stones, and shot at security forces." A man in the town of Jisr al-Shaghour also claimed that "armed gangs were preventing refugees from returning home from Turkey."

More than 12,000 Syrian refugees have fled to camps inside Turkey in the past several weeks.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut insisted that Syria is more worried about preventing the collapse of its regime, than about provoking a conflict with Turkey. He says that Syrian forces approached the border, despite agreements not to do so:

"Syrian armored personnel carriers even reached the border," said Khashan.  "They were maybe two meters away from the Turkish border station. The Syrians want it to be clear that they will not allow the Turks to establish a buffer zone, whereby the opposition can be stationed there.  So, the Syrians don't really seem to care if the Turks were to initiate hostility against them. What counts most for them is the survival of the regime, and I don't think they will be deterred by any United Nations resolution, even though see it coming, or by sanctions."

The French daily Le Figaro also reported Saturday that the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon has been moving rockets and other arms from inside Syria to Lebanon. Hezbollah, according to the paper, is worried about the possible collapse of the Syrian regime.

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah claimed in a speech Friday that the fall of the Syrian regime would represent a "free gift to both Israel and the United States," allowing them to "impose their hegemony over the region." Hezbollah is on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist groups.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid