News / Middle East

Mortar Rounds Hit Near Syrian Palace as Aleppo Death Toll Mounts

This citizen journalism image from the Aleppo Media Center (AMC) shows people searching debris of destroyed buildings after Syrian government forces airstrike, Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Feb. 19, 2013.
This citizen journalism image from the Aleppo Media Center (AMC) shows people searching debris of destroyed buildings after Syrian government forces airstrike, Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Feb. 19, 2013.
VOA News
Syrian rebels fired mortar rounds at one of President Bahsar al-Assad's palaces in Damascus Tuesday, as the death toll climbed to at least 31 from a separate missile strike late Monday in the northern commercial city of Aleppo.

The palace attack is the first strike confirmed by the government close to a presidential building, and is widely seen as further evidence that Syria's civil war is reaching areas of the capital once considered safe.  The state-run SANA news agency reported no casualties at the Tishreen palace and the rebel Free Syrian Army later claimed credit for the attack.

In Aleppo, meanwhile, 14 children and five women were reported among the dead, with amateur video showing dozens of residents working Tuesday to locate and identify victims in the city's Jabal Badro district.  

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quotes witnesses as saying no planes were overhead when the missile struck, and said the degree of destruction suggested a strike by a surface-to-surface missile.

Meanwhile, Russian and Western news reports say Moscow has dispatched two transport planes and four large naval landing ships to Syrian coastal waters to evacuate its nationals wanting to leave the war-torn country.

Russia's defense ministry said the ships were assigned to military service, while providing no further details.  However, a Russian military source told the official Ria Novosti news agency it can be assumed they will be taking part in a possible evacuation.

Separately, the United Nations' World Health Organization renewed warnings Tuesday about a typhoid outbreak affecting some 2,500 people in rebel-held areas of the country's northeast.

Typhoid is a bacterial disease that spreads as a result of contact with contaminated food or drink.  

The WHO said ongoing fighting has cut off access to electricity and clean water, forcing many people to drink water from the sewage-contaminated Euphrates River.

The United Nations estimates 70,000 people have been killed in Syria since anti-government protests erupted in March 2011 and broadened into civil war.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
February 20, 2013 6:03 PM
The ICC is a sick joke, propped up by the west (as a propaganda tool for the most part). Funny that all the really big war crimes go unpunished, namely in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya (among others) where the perpetrators of war crimes are "untouchable", or have been conveniently absolved of their crimes.

by: Anonymous
February 20, 2013 1:48 AM
This photo clearly shows the crimes against humanity Bashar al Assad is dealing from his deck. Every crime he does will not escape Justice being served. You can't escape justice for murder of thousands, this is 2013. Maybe in the wild west back in the day, but every crime has its punishment.

by: musawi melake
February 19, 2013 6:27 PM
This issue is totally an internal matter, the only thing the UN and other international bodies should be dealing with is to counter the proliferation of illegal weapons that are being used by the terrorists against a sovereign state. If there are grievances among the people of Syria, it should be dealt with appropriately through negotiations and reconciliation. Syria should be the one that is entitled to investigate and do justice, not some Pundits at the Whitehouse.
In Response

by: Anonymous
February 20, 2013 1:37 AM
The International Criminal Court putting out for a warrant for Bashar al Assads arrest would be a wonderful start, this would slow things down a bit. A lot less innocent civilians would be killed. Justice will be served to Bashar al Assad, even if he thinks he can hide in Russia.

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 19, 2013 11:45 AM
The terrible massacres of Sunni Muslim civilians, through the use of large weapons, by the Syrian regime continues unabatted. Those countries/orgs like Hezbollah that are supporting the regime are accessories to these massive crimes. It is unfortunate that no country has stepped into destroying the large weapons the Syrian regime has; until such effort is undertaken, these large massacres will just continue. Given that the regime is refusing to stand down, but just continues killing innocent civilians with massive weapons, a military option to destroy such weapons needs full consideration, or eventually Sunni Muslims in Syria will no longer exist. Not a very good outcome for anyone..

by: Michael from: USA
February 19, 2013 10:03 AM
Since this attack there is no safe place in Syria. If ever there were a safe place it would not be found on any military map. The missle was aimed at a location on a map. a's causing b, points to the military which involves arms manufacture and if there were additional plans they probably occurred during the idea to use a missle, although the target was probably a difficult choice

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs