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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs