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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs