News / Middle East

    Report: Syrian Operation May Be Crime Against Humanity

    An image taken from footage uploaded on YouTube shows hundreds of thousands of Syrian anti-government protesters flooding the streets of the central city of Hama on July 1, 2011
    An image taken from footage uploaded on YouTube shows hundreds of thousands of Syrian anti-government protesters flooding the streets of the central city of Hama on July 1, 2011

    Amnesty International says Syrian security forces may have committed crimes against humanity during a deadly operation last month in a town near the Lebanese border.

    Citing witness accounts, the London-based rights group accused Syria of rounding up scores of male residents in Talkalakh and torturing most of them, with at least nine people dying in custody.

    In a report issued Wednesday, Amnesty said the assault appears to be part of a "widespread, systematic attack against the civilian population," which would constitute crimes against humanity.

    The group urged the U.N. Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

    On Tuesday, Syrian government forces opened fire on civilians in the central city of Hama, killing at least 11 people. Activists said the shootings took place after troops moved tanks around the city's outskirts in apparent preparation for an assault.

    In response, residents set up dozens of roadblocks and set debris on fire to prevent the advance of tanks currently ringing the town. Hama residents burned tires and trash bins and set up sand barriers and other obstacles to block the expected assault.

    Security forces also mounted a second attack Tuesday in northwest Idlib province.

    The U.S. and Britain urged Syria to immediately pull its forces from Hama and other cities.

    Reuters quoted a French Foreign Ministry spokesman Tuesday as calling on the United Nations Security Council to adopt a firm stance against what he called Syria's "unacceptable, ferocious armed repression."

    Hama is one of the centers of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's 11-year autocratic rule, and was the site of an anti-Assad rally on Friday that drew hundreds of thousands of protesters.

    On Monday, soldiers sealed off the city and raided homes there, one month after government forces withdrew. At least 20 people were arrested as part of Syria's ongoing crackdown on dissent.

    Unlike its European partners and the U.S., France says Mr. Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule. But a French campaign for U.N. condemnation of the crackdown has met stiff Russian and Chinese resistance.

    But Foreign Minister Alain Juppe - who held talks in Moscow last week - said Tuesday there are signs Russia is beginning to question its Syria policy. Juppe said he attempted to sway his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, but that Russia is still threatening to veto any U.N. resolution against Syria.

    Rights groups say Syrian security forces have killed at least 1,300 civilians since mid-March while trying to suppress the anti-government uprising. The Syrian government says terrorists and Islamist militants have killed hundreds of security personnel during the same period.

    Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.