News / Middle East

    Massive Blast Levels Historic Syria Hotel

    Carlton Hotel, Aleppo, Syria
    Carlton Hotel, Aleppo, Syria
    Edward Yeranian
    A massive explosion in a tunnel dug by rebel fighters destroyed an historic hotel facing Aleppo's iconic 13th century Citadel. Both opposition and government sources are reporting numerous casualties among government troops being housed in the building.  
     
    This image made from amateur video posted by Shaam News Network (SNN), an anti-Bashar Assad activist group, shows an explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, Syria, May 8, 2014.This image made from amateur video posted by Shaam News Network (SNN), an anti-Bashar Assad activist group, shows an explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, Syria, May 8, 2014.
    x
    This image made from amateur video posted by Shaam News Network (SNN), an anti-Bashar Assad activist group, shows an explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, Syria, May 8, 2014.
    This image made from amateur video posted by Shaam News Network (SNN), an anti-Bashar Assad activist group, shows an explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, Syria, May 8, 2014.
    Amateur video showed an enormous mushroom cloud rising into the sky over Syria's largest city of Aleppo after a blast leveled the Carlton Hotel, shattering windows and scattering debris for hundreds of meters. Explosives placed in a tunnel under the building destroyed the 150 year old Ottoman structure. Dozens were killed, including many government soldiers.

    Government troops continue to hold the Citadel and several neighborhoods inside the historic old city of Aleppo, while rebels control surrounding districts and areas north and east of the city. Rebels recently agreed to lift a siege of the nearby government-held towns of Nubl and Zahra.

    Government warplanes have pounded rebel districts of Aleppo with home-made “barrel bombs” since December, causing hundreds of casualties. Amateur video has shown entire buildings leveled in the aerial bombardment, with many residents buried under debris.

    ​An explosion in a tunnel under a government military base earlier this week killed dozens of Syrian soldiers near the town of Ma'arat al Na'aman in Idlib province. Opposition activists say it took rebel insurgents over 50 days to dig that tunnel.

    An amateur video showed rebel fighters digging one such tunnel somewhere in the north of Syria. The group of mostly young men show off their work to visitors, describing their efforts.

    Syrian government sources claimed recently to have destroyed a number of rebel-built tunnels in the Damascus suburb of Joubar. Once a rebel-stronghold, most of Joubar has been recaptured by government forces.

    A rebel commander in Syria's third largest city of Homs describes a deal with the government to exchange prisoners in parts of the country. He insists, however, that the deal is not a truce. Amateur video showed government soldiers being released Thursday as part of the deal.

    Homs' Governor Talal Barazi explains on Syrian State TV that a third wave of rebel fighters are being allowed to leave the old city Thursday. Amateur video showed several groups of fighters being evacuated from the old city within the past 48 hours.
     
    • This scene taken from amateur video shows the explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, May 8, 2014.
    • This scene taken from amateur video shows an explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, May 8, 2014.
    • Syrian rebels detonated a huge bomb underneath the Carlton Hotel, completely demolishing it. Seen here are forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad standing on the debris of the fallen hotel, in historic Aleppo, May 8, 2014.
    • Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad stand on debris of a hotel used by al-Assad's forces, in historic Aleppo May 8, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter helps another wounded rebel fighter, Al-Amariya district, Aleppo, May 8, 2014.
    • This photo shows Free Syrian Army fighters posing for a group photograph, exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, before leaving Homs, May 7, 2014.
    • This scene from amateur video shows Syrian rebels boarding a bus leaving Homs, May 7, 2014.
    • Hundreds of Syrian rebels leave Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces, May 8, 2014.
       
    • The exit of about 1,200 fighters and civilians marks a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city of Homs, one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, earning the nickname "capital of the revolution," Homs, May 7, 2014.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters on a bus leaving Homs, Syria, May 7, 2014.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    May 08, 2014 6:31 PM
    Best thing that can possibly happen is now happening. Russia heavily slapped with sanctions for supporting bashar al assad war criminal terrorist whom has murdered more unarmed civillians than anyone in Syria. He will have to face justice regardless of what he thinks. Two thumbs up for sanctions!!!

    by: TF Arcevol from: Miskatonic University
    May 08, 2014 2:32 PM
    "*A* historic", not "an historic".

    The "h" in historic is not silent: "an" is reserved for words beginning with a vowel sound.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    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.
    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.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    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 Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    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 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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora