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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.