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

    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: 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.
    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