News / Middle East

Syrian Troops Continue Crackdown

Syrian soldiers gather at the backyard of the municipality of Duma on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus as rights groups said Syrian security forces killed six people and wounded dozens in raids in the northwest and around the capital, A
Syrian soldiers gather at the backyard of the municipality of Duma on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus as rights groups said Syrian security forces killed six people and wounded dozens in raids in the northwest and around the capital, A
Ben Gilbert

Syria’s security forces continue to crack down on protests in several places, despite international condemnation. Over the weekend, Turkey’s president said Turkey has "lost confidence" in President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Iranian officials also voiced concern at the possible regional implications if the five-month-old uprising is not solved peacefully.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian Local Coordinating Committees say at least five people were killed Monday during a security force siege of the town of Sarameen in Homs province. The town has been the scene of major protests during the past five months.

A video posted on the Internet shows what is said to be an anti-government demonstration in the town Sunday night. The protesters chant “God is great! Freedom!”  

Syrian activists say at least one person also was killed in the town of Rastan in Idlib province Monday as tanks and troops moved in. The activists say troops surrounded the town Sunday night as a major anti-regime protest was taking place.   

A YouTube video shows hundreds of people gathered in a square in Rastan. Someone waves a Syrian flag as a speaker leads the crowd in chants against Assad.  

Because most journalists have been barred from entering Syria, VOA cannot verify the authenticity of the videos.  

A resident of Rastan told Reuters news agency that tanks and other armored vehicles deployed early Monday at the entrance to the town and fired long bursts from their machine guns. Residents also told Reuters that some soldiers earlier had defected to join the protesters.

Meanwhile, the Local Coordinating Committees reported that protests continued in the Damascus suburbs and dozens of people had been arrested, especially in Qara and Qadsaya.  

Syrian activists say at least 27 people died over the weekend as a result of the security crackdown in protest communities all over Syria.

The United Nations estimates that more than 2,200 mostly unarmed civilians have been killed since Syria’s uprising began in March.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul blasted Syria’s handling of the crisis in remarks Sunday, saying Ankara had lost its confidence in the Syrian authorities. Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying the situation has reached a stage in which any gestures by the Syrian government would be "too little, too late."

Even some Iranian officials have begun to caution their longtime allies in Syria. The Iranian foreign minister on Saturday warned of dangerous implications if the crisis in Syria is not solved peacefully. Ali Akbar Salehi urged the Syrian government to heed its citizen’s "legitimate demands." He said if Syria were to experience a power vacuum it would have "unprecedented repercussions'' in the region.   

The comments came as members of the Syrian opposition, meeting in Ankara, Turkey, formed a national transitional council, similar to that of the Libyan opposition. Ninety-four members of the council have been chosen. Half are inside Syria and the rest outside.

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

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs