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

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

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    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.
    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.
    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