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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked 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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora