News / Middle East

16 Killed in Damascus Car Bombing

A damaged area is pictured after a car bomb in Qatana, near Damascus December 13, 2012 in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
A damaged area is pictured after a car bomb in Qatana, near Damascus December 13, 2012 in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
VOA News
A car bomb has killed 16 people in a suburb outside the Syrian capital, Damascus, while a senior Russian diplomat says Syria's opposition may win in its battle against President Bashar al-Assad.

The bombing Thursday in Qatana comes a day after an explosion targeting the main entrance of Syria's interior ministry in Damascus killed five people.

In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov acknowledged for the first time that Assad is increasingly losing control of the country's territory, and that an opposition victory cannot be ruled out.

Quoted by Russian media, he also accused Western nations of distorting Russia's position on Syria in order to weaken its influence in the Middle East.

Moscow opposes Western demands to impose regime change on the Syrian president, a longtime Russian ally.

On Wednesday, a senior U.S. official said the Syrian government recently fired Scud missiles at insurgents.  There was no indication as to whether the missiles carried chemical weapons.  

The use of Scud missiles could be seen as an escalation of the nearly two-year conflict in Syria.

Meanwhile, a group of more than 100 nations calling for Assad to step down formally recognized a newly formed opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

The director of the Brookings Doha Center, Salman Shaikh, told VOA from Morocco that the new coalition's leadership was "satisfied" with the outcome of the so-called Friends of Syria meeting.

"It's safe to say this is the most significant Friends [of Syria] meeting there's been.  In fact, it's probably the first significant Friends [of Syria] meeting there has been," Shaikh said.

He said various countries taking part pledged $143 million in aid for the Syrian opposition, including a $100-million aid package from Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said in Morocco the sooner the Syrian president "steps aside, the better for all Syrians."

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago
December 13, 2012 9:20 AM
Russia finally has written off Bashar Assad, just about as bankers write off bad loans as a loss. I have predicted in other writings and in my blog at the Telegraph that Russian policy in Syria was quite foolish, and now Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov - who had boasted "The Syrian rebels cannot defeat the Syrian army" - might have to eat some crow. I don't know where Assad will be headed for exile, but I am certain of two things: a) Assassins will be hot on his trail to do justice for all the killing done under his orders, and b) The International Crominal Court's (ITC) investigators will start ammassing "war crimes" evidence against him, and an arrest warrant is certain to come later.

I am sure Assad thinks that packing and leaving will end his current predicament. But his real nightmares will begin when he starts life on the run in exile! Nikos Retsos, retired professor
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 14, 2012 6:48 AM
Absolutely, well said.

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2012 8:48 AM
Rebels kill innocent people , US and its allies support them.Noone knows what terrorism means based on US terminology.
So There are two types of terrorist: Those who with US policy ; they are good terrorists . And those who are against US policy they are bad.
Now you judge, which type of terrorists the rebeles in Syria are.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 14, 2012 7:02 AM
A terrorist is someone who terrorizes civilians. Exactly what Assad has done for the past year with his so called army/thugs. He has terrorized more than anyone in Syria. With the hundreds of thousands homeless, elderly, men, women , and children. He has not only commited the largest of crimes, he has also stained Syrian history. Not only has he destroyed a great deal of areas in Syria, he has also wiped out historical places, with historical values. Places that were sacred as well as a part of Syrian History. We all know that most of the 50,000 or more people killed, majority were civilians. We have also seen the videos showing Assad dropping bombs and using tanks to take out entire neighborhoods by indiscriminately shelling. We also know that thousands of Syrians are missing and are expected to be in Jails and being mistreated there. People of all ages are being held in prisons. Many families have hope they may find them alive still.

What Assad has shown us is the very little he values human life, and the people / country of Syria, to the point that disgusts the world. He is doing no different than his daddy did years ago, he has killed actually more innocent people than his father.

Easy to power, easy to go... A country isn't much of a country without the backing of the people. More and more defectors and civilians are taking to arms to go against Assad. The people want a safe quiet place to live in Peace. Every day there is more and more enemies of Assad than there is friends. He is all by himself now as everyone under him has been jumping ship and is defecting. It's not going to be long now at all. This war will be over once Assad is detained and held accountable.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs