News / Middle East

Syria VP Dispels Defection Rumors

Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa, meets in Damascus, Syria with Alaeddin Boroujerdi, not shown, the head of Iran's powerful parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy ending rumors that Al-Sharaa had defected to Jordan, August
Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa, meets in Damascus, Syria with Alaeddin Boroujerdi, not shown, the head of Iran's powerful parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy ending rumors that Al-Sharaa had defected to Jordan, August
VOA News
Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa has appeared in public for the first time in weeks, ending speculation that he had defected from President Bashar al-Assad's embattled government.

The 73-year-old Sunni Muslim met Sunday with a visiting senior Iranian official in Damascus.  Sharaa was last seen in public at a state funeral for security officials who died in a July 18 bomb blast.

The Assad government has seen a number of high-level defections in recent months, and up until Sunday, there had been rumors that Sharaa had defected to Jordan, despite the government's denials.

Meanwhile, a Syrian watchdog group says hundreds of people were killed across the country Saturday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the final death toll for the day was 370, with nearly 200 bodies found in Daraya, near the capital.

The number of corpses in Daraya and when they died could not be independently confirmed. However, video footage reported to be from Daraya showed a large group of victims. Syrian forces had focused a five-day onslaught on rebel fighters in the town to regain control of the outskirts of Damascus.

Activists say Syrian forces with tanks and combat helicopters also launched new raids in other cities.

On Saturday, SANA said armed forces killed an unspecified number of "terrorists" in Aleppo and destroyed seven vehicles equipped with machine guns.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: dyke davis from: USA, San Francisco
August 25, 2012 1:19 PM
It is laughable that the western political and corporate media class cares little or nothing about the widening violence spealing over into Lebanon nor the tragic cost of human life inside Syria where they are pouring weapons, logistics and foreign-terrorist into the attempt to subdue the government of President Assad.
It is true mind-bending to think that human life is treated so cheaply by those whom called themselves civilized and modern.
Attacking this government, while they continue to escape international criminal prosecution for now, a decade of illegal unilateral invasions, mass-deaths, electronic drone assassinations, and a shopping list of other international crimes in the planning.
I, can not fathtom how the human mind can be so horribly twisted to the point that some in our US political and media elites can go to sleep at night knowing that people are being slaughtered by the thousands solely to further some worthless politician's nightmare scenario on how the world should work!
Nothing good will result in these acts of humanity and I hope I'm not anywhere near the moment of retribution that will surely come to those who are responsible for these crimes in Syria.
In Response

by: Ayodotty from: Phoenix
August 26, 2012 3:18 PM
Obviously sad, I just can't believe this is happening today, humans are being slaughter in numbers everyday just like that!
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 26, 2012 3:45 AM
And they call us terrorists!
In Response

by: kt from: Ledyard
August 25, 2012 11:49 PM
I completely agree.

As more lives are lost, the world continues to dig its own grave as the lava of war spills in...
In Response

by: traffikator from: USA
August 25, 2012 10:40 PM
And how did you determine that what is happening in Syria is caused by the western nations in particular USA? The USA has been guilty of a lot of atrocities, I must agree, unfortunately, but Syria? It is one of the last places the USA would like top see destabilized. Can you imagine what would happen if some AL qaeda linked revolutionist got a hold of Syria with all its WMD's? The USA hates that Assad is killing the civilians, but what would like to see the USA do now? Would you like us to put boots on the ground or what? And if we did, who would we support? Be clear and specific in your response and also state what possible outcomes you would hope to achieve and what realisticalyyou think would happen?

by: Michael from: USA
August 25, 2012 10:00 AM
As history in the making the United Nation observers leave Syria, but remain united in the wish for peace, as Ismaili one God, and Christian one Son, in an open channel for present and future cooperation
In Response

by: Mike from: UK
August 26, 2012 7:32 AM
From Wikipedia: The UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, SOHR is run out of a two-bedroom terraced home in Coventry, UK, by Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdul Rahman, or Rami Abdelrahman), a Syrian Sunni Muslim who also runs a clothes shop. An information office opposed to the Assad regime.

"Run out of a two bedroom terraced house"! This is hardly a reputably source worth quoting!
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs