News / Middle East

    Syria's Assad Vows to 'Purge Extremists'

    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad heads a Cabinet meeting in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on Feb. 12, 2013. Syria's President Bashar al-Assad heads a Cabinet meeting in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on Feb. 12, 2013.
    x
    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad heads a Cabinet meeting in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on Feb. 12, 2013.
    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad heads a Cabinet meeting in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on Feb. 12, 2013.
    VOA News
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowed Friday to purge his country of extremists he blames for a suicide bombing that killed at least 49 people at an ancient Damascus mosque.

    In a statement carried in the official Syrian Arab News Agency, President Assad said the blood of those killed in the Thursday attack "would not go in vain," promising to eliminate the "forces of darkness and extremist" ideology responsible.

    Eman Mosque is seen destroyed after a suicide bomber blew himself upin Damascus, Syria, March 21, 2013 (SANA photo)Eman Mosque is seen destroyed after a suicide bomber blew himself upin Damascus, Syria, March 21, 2013 (SANA photo)
    x
    Eman Mosque is seen destroyed after a suicide bomber blew himself upin Damascus, Syria, March 21, 2013 (SANA photo)
    Eman Mosque is seen destroyed after a suicide bomber blew himself upin Damascus, Syria, March 21, 2013 (SANA photo)
    Among those killed in the attack was longtime pro-government cleric Mohammed al-Buti, who had been a fierce critic of rebels fighting to topple President Assad.

    Several members of the Syrian opposition were quick to deny responsibility for the bombing - the first suicide attack on a mosque during the country's two-year-old conflict.

    During the uprising, President Assad has used such incidents to paint the opposition as extremists and terrorists, though many opposition members suspect the government is behind the bombings. Al-Qaida-linked groups have also claimed some attacks on Assad loyalists.

    Rebels and the Syrian government also accused each other this week of using chemical weapons during an attack near the hotly contested town of Aleppo.

    On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ordered an investigation into the Syrian government's allegations that rebels used such weapons in a rocket attack. Ban called on all parties in Syria to grant full access and cooperation to the investigators.

    "There is much work to do and this will not happen overnight. It is obviously a difficult mission," he said. "I intend for this investigation to start as soon as practically possible. Again, my announcement should serve as an unequivocal reminder that the use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity."

    U.S. President Barack Obama said he is "deeply skeptical" of the claim that rebels used chemical weapons. He said Washington will carry out its own investigation.|

    Some information for this report was provided by AP.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sum from: Sommerset
    March 22, 2013 11:59 PM
    if you keep quite against tyrant ,tyrant will get more offensive.

    by: Peter from: Nazarin Church
    March 22, 2013 11:28 AM
    someone here asked why is Assad is still being called "president of Syria" when he is obviously not... well, the same could be asked of Mahmud Abb-Ass - "President" of Palestine... or why would we still be calling Judea and Samaria - the west bank...?? or "Palestinians" other than Arabs... or Mursi - the "president" of Egypt... or Vali Nasr an "American" scholar...??? its all distortion and fraud...
    In Response

    by: Mike from: Minnesota
    March 22, 2013 11:23 PM
    "or Vali Nasr an "American" scholar"

    What an incredibly bigoted and hateful comment. Nasr has spent most of his life in the United States and is an American citizen.

    His foreign policy analyses are 100 percent in line with American interests.

    His Iranian background in no way detracts from his American nationality and his loyalty to the United States.

    Just because someone doesn't promote perpetual ratcheting up of sanctions and war against Iran, doesn't make them a secret agent of the Iranian government, you charlatan bigot.

    by: Anonymous
    March 22, 2013 9:29 AM
    Bashar al Assad can only hire outsiders to fight in Syria. Reason being is that outsiders are the only people that will kill Syrians. This itself is entirely a form of Terrorism. Especially at the fact the entire nation does not want Bashar, but Bashar is trying to use force to occupy Syria. Bashar is the biggest terrorist in Syria.

    by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
    March 22, 2013 9:08 AM
    i very much hope and expoect that the syrian free forces are out to give assad a beating for the sake of a beating because of his wickedness and not because they need leadership of the country..i even wonder who has brainwashed assad that syria was meant to be governed by him.

    lulasa...president
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    March 23, 2013 2:00 AM
    The answer is simple enough: Bashar al-Assad is a president lawfully elected by Syrian people. He is representative of his people. He is only trying to prevent Syria from becoming a second Afganistan, Iraq or Lybia where you only see violence, hatred, deadly bombings. The West has turned those countries into hell where people cannot enjoy any "human rights, democracy" at all.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 22, 2013 9:49 AM
    A good question is, why is Bashar al Assad still being called "The President of Syria"? He isn't , he doesn't represent the country and people of Syria. If anything he should be facing a New Syria Judicial System for the murders of thousands. He is more of a criminal than any sort of President, which is representing.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 22, 2013 9:35 AM
    I hope the exact same thing. Crimes against the Nation of Syria, by Bashar al Assad should NEVER go unpunished. He needs the most severe punishment in the world. He has killed and brutalized thousands in Syria. He has blood stained the Syrian Nation. He has tried to force himself as a leader of a country that the people of Syria own. He has tried and failed. He must now be disabled militarily and be brought to justice.

    He deserves thousands of murder charges for the thousands of innocent victims he has killed in Syria.
    You LOST Bashar!!! Don't you get the picture? Now you are just adding up a larger crime sheet. Crimes against New Syria.

    by: Michael from: USA
    March 22, 2013 9:06 AM
    Consider as an example proposition A: "There is much work to do in Syria and this will not happen overnight"
    and B: "The choirboys will sing the Ava Maria at noon"
    Proposition B can be accomplished only if the clock strikes noon and A can be accomplished only before the sun does not rise

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora