News

Clashes Erupt in Syria Despite UN Warning

A Free Syrian Army fighter sits next to the grave of a comrade during the funeral for four people killed in a raid by government forces in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, April 5, 2012.
A Free Syrian Army fighter sits next to the grave of a comrade during the funeral for four people killed in a raid by government forces in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, April 5, 2012.

Syrian government forces continued to conduct military operations across large swathes of the country Friday, less than a week before a U.N.-backed cease-fire is to take effect. Anti-government opposition groups. meanwhile, held protests in more than a dozen towns and cities after Friday prayers.

Opposition videos showed hundreds of protesters demonstrating in Syria's northern commercial capital of Aleppo Friday despite the presence of government security forces.

Videos also showed large protests in several flashpoint regions and the capital, Damascus.

Amateur Video of Syrian violence obtained by APTN

Witnesses reported heavy government shelling in the Deir Balbah district of the beleaguered city of Homs Friday. Parts of Homs have come under government shelling for weeks and activists say there is no sign government troops are preparing to withdraw from populated centers by April 10, in accordance with a U.N. peace plan.

An opposition video also showed rebel soldiers firing automatic rifles in Homs, in the direction of government troops. VOA cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video, but if true, it could indicate that rebels may have received fresh supplies of ammunition.

Opposition activist Adeel Youssef said that government troops are continuing shelling in many villages. He said,"Syrian troops are indiscriminately bombing before they try to storm a town or village."

He added that the attacks are causing an "exodus of frightened people."

Al Arabiya television reported that government troops stormed the Damascus suburb of Douma overnight, making dozens of arrests. Government forces have temporarily retaken parts of Douma on several previous occasions, only to lose control later.

The Syrian government has agreed to U.N.-backed peace plan but international peace envoy Kofi Annan said Thursday that there has been little progress on ending the year-long crackdown on dissent.

Both Russia and China, allies of the Syrian government, have increased pressure on Damascus to comply with the plan.

Syria blames much of the violence on "terrorists" supported by "Arab and Western countries." The state-run SANA news agency said Friday that terrorist acts increased after Damascus reached an agreement on Annan's peace plan.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut said it is not likely that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will comply with the peace plan, because that would give the opposition new momentum.

"[Accepting the plan] means that Syrians will feel free to demonstrate against the regime with impunity," Khashan said. "This is unthinkable. Assad will never allow such developments to occur. Therefore, he will find reasons to defeat the mission of Kofi Annan."

Khashan said Annan's diplomatic efforts are the “last chance” that Assad will receive from the international community.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs