News / Middle East

15 Civilians Killed in Syrian Crackdown on Central Towns

A file photo taken from footage by Sham SNN, a Syrian opposition web channel, shows Syrian army vehicles deployed in the central industrial city of Homs
A file photo taken from footage by Sham SNN, a Syrian opposition web channel, shows Syrian army vehicles deployed in the central industrial city of Homs
TEXT SIZE - +

Syrian rights activists say a military crackdown on opposition protesters in the central part of the country has killed at least 15 civilians since Sunday and injured dozens more.

The demonstrators were killed as government forces backed by tanks, artillery and helicopters continued to attack the cities of Talbiseh, Rastan and other central communities where residents have staged anti-government protests in recent days.

Rights groups said three civilians were killed Monday in Talbiseh. Residents also found the bodies of two people thought to have been killed by Syrian troops in Homs, Syria's third-largest city.

In a new development, the Associated Press reported that residents of Talbiseh and Rastan used automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to repel advancing troops. One activist was quoted as saying the armed resistance was not organized but rather involved individual residents protecting themselves.

Witness reports in Syria, as well as official accounts, are difficult to independently verify because the government barred most international journalists from the country soon after the unrest began in March.

Also Monday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the repression of opposition movements in Syria and Libya is "shocking" for its "brutality and magnitude." Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been trying to suppress an opposition revolt against his 42-year rule since February.

Pillay renewed her call for Syria to allow a fact-finding mission to visit the country. She was speaking to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Earlier, Syrian state media said "terrorists" operating in Talbiseh killed four Syrian soldiers and wounded 14 on Sunday. Syria's government frequently blames the two-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad on terrorists, Islamists and foreign agitators. It says at least 140 Syrian security personnel have been killed in the unrest.

Syrian opposition activists have been protesting almost daily since March for democratic reforms and an end to Mr. Assad's 11-year autocratic rule. Rights groups say Mr. Assad's security forces have killed more than 1,000 people and arrested 10,000 more in a campaign to crush the uprising.

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

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

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid