News / Middle East

Syrian Troops Renew Attacks on Hama Ahead of UN Meeting

An image grab from a video uploaded on YouTube on July 31, 2011 shows Syrians seeking cover from shooting allegedly by security forces in the city of Hama.
An image grab from a video uploaded on YouTube on July 31, 2011 shows Syrians seeking cover from shooting allegedly by security forces in the city of Hama.

Syrian forces have attacked civilian areas in the central city of Hama for a second day, as the U.N. Security Council meets to discuss President Bashar al-Assad's increasingly brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Residents in Hama say tanks resumed intense shelling of the city late Monday, and that troops fired machine guns at worshippers about to head to mosques for special nighttime prayers on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.

The shelling is reported to be the heaviest of the two-day military assault on the city. It appears aimed at preventing the mosque gatherings, perhaps fearing they would trigger larger protests.

Syrian Troops Renew Attacks on Hama Ahead of UN Meeting
Syrian Troops Renew Attacks on Hama Ahead of UN Meeting

The attacks also have targeted the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, where snipers on rooftops shot into the streets. The Wall Street Journal reported five people killed on Monday. Two more died in nearby al-Boukamal near the Iraqi border, including a 13-year-old boy shot in the head.

Syrian rights groups say at least 80 people were killed throughout Syria in Sunday's attacks, including 52 in Hama and neighboring villages.

The U.N. Security Council was holding an emergency, closed-door session late Monday at Germany's request to discuss Mr. Assad's increasingly brutal crackdown. A diplomat said Britain was expected to circulate a new resolution on Syria at the meeting.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the violence and appealed to Council members who have resisted efforts to adopt a resolution denouncing the Assad regime for its crackdown.

One of those countries, Russia, issued an unusual criticism of the Syrian government Monday, condemning "the use of force against peaceful protesters" and urging restraint. Turkey also sharply raised its public condemnation of Mr. Assad's government following the attacks on Hama.

The hardening reactions from Moscow and Ankara are potentially significant as Russia holds weight at the U.N. and Turkey is a regional power and important trade partner with Syria.

Also Monday, the European Union expanded sanctions against the Syrian government, imposing travel bans and asset freezes on five more officials associated with Syria's bloody crackdown.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton condemned the recent attacks on citizens and said the "brutal violence" risks escalating tensions and divisions in the country.

The EU did not announce the names of the newly targeted Syrian officials. The bloc has sanctioned more than 30 people, including Mr. Assad, in its effort to stop the government's assault.

Ahead of the EU meeting, British Foreign Secretary William Hague called for stronger sanctions against Mr. Assad's inner circle, but said international military intervention is "not a remote possibility." Hague added that Arab countries must be among those pressuring the Damascus government.

It is difficult to verify accounts of the unrest in Syria because the government has barred most foreign media from reporting and traveling freely in the country. Some estimates say as many as 140 died in the clashes Sunday.

Rights groups say Syrian forces have killed at least 1,600 civilians during the crackdown. The government has blamed much of the violence on terrorists and militants who it says have killed hundreds of security personnel.

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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid