News / Middle East

    Syrian Forces Pound Rebel Positions in Aleppo

    A Free Syrian Army fighter runs after a Syrian Army tank shell explodes in the Salah al- Din neighbourhood of central Aleppo, August 5, 2012.
    A Free Syrian Army fighter runs after a Syrian Army tank shell explodes in the Salah al- Din neighbourhood of central Aleppo, August 5, 2012.
    VOA News
    The Syrian army continued attacking rebel positions Sunday in the northern city of Aleppo with heavy shelling and helicopter gunships.
     
    The country's biggest city has become a key battleground in the nearly year and a half uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, as government forces reportedly mass ahead of what is expected to be a strong offensive against the rebels.
     
    The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that more than 40 Syrians, including 25 civilians, were confirmed as killed Sunday across the country.  The British-based group said more than 24 others were killed a day earlier.  The casualties have not been independently verified.
     
    Kidnapped Iranians
     
    Meanwhile, Iranian media said Tehran has asked Turkey and Qatar to help secure the release of 48 Iranian nationals kidnapped Saturday in Damascus.  Iran says the victims were religious pilgrims, but a brigade commander with the Free Syrian Army describes them as elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
     
    Iran backs the Syrian government, while Turkey and Qatar support the Syrian opposition. 
     
    Former Iranian President Abolhasan Bani Sadr tells VOA that the captured Iranians were not armed or wearing Revolutionary Guard uniforms.  He says Iran is definitely helping President Assad and that the stakes are very high for his country.
     
    He says that the fall of the Assad government would not only be a heavy blow to Iranian prestige and influence in the region, but it would also reinforce U.S. policy of containing Iran.  He says Tehran views any toppling of President Assad as signifying that Iran's turn could be next.

    • A truck catches flames after it was hit by rockets fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter plane during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.
    • A general view shows a street after clashes between Free Syrian Army fighters and forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad, in Salah Edinne district, in the center of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an anti-aircraft gun as a Syrian Air Force fighter bomber fires rockets during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.
    • In this photo taken on guided government tour, Syrian army forces are seen at al-Sijen district, in the center of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.
    • A Syrian man reacts after the funeral of 29 year-old Free Syrian Army fighter, Husain Al-Ali, who was killed during clashes in Aleppo, in the cemetery in town of Marea on the outskirts of Aleppo city, August 9, 2012.
    • Men search for bodies under rubble of a house destroyed by a Syrian Air force air strike, in Tel Rafat, about 37 kilometers north of Aleppo, Syria, August 8, 2012.
    • In this citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network SNN, Syrians attend the funeral procession of a man killed in Idlib province, August 7, 2012.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter runs after a Syrian Army tank shell exploded in the Salah al- Din neighbourhood of central Aleppo, August 5, 2012.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters fire their rifles during clashes with Syrian Army soldiers in the Salah al- Din neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 5, 2012.
    • Free Syrian Army fighter holds a RPG launcher during clashes with Syrian Army in the Salah al- Din neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 5, 2012.
    • This image map provides an overview of the activity seen in Aleppo from July 23, 2012 to August 1, 2012 (base image collected on July 29, 2012).
    • More than 600 probable artillery impact craters, represented here with yellow dots, were identified in Anadan, in the vicinity of Aleppo.
    • In this August 5, 2012 photograph, Syrians pass by a destroyed house in town of Atareb outskirts of Aleppo, Syria.
    • Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover during clashes with Syrian Army soldiers in the Salah al- Din neighborhood of central Aleppo August 5, 2012.
    • Syrian women mourn the loss of loved ones in Aleppo fighting, August 5, 2012.
    International Debate Continues
     
    The U.S. State Department announced Sunday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Turkey later this week to discuss the deteriorating situation in Syria. 
     
    The United Nations General Assembly on Friday voted overwhelmingly to condemn the Security Council for its failure to act and condemned the Syrian regime for using heavy weapons.  

    Kofi Annan's Six-Point Peace Plan
     
    • A Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.
    • A U.N. supervised end to armed violence by all parties in Syria.
    • Timely humanitarian assistance in all areas affected by fighting.
    • Increasing the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained people.
    • Ensuring freedom of movement for journalists.
    • Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully.
    The U.N. special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, resigned Thursday in frustration with the world body's failure to act decisively to prevent  the bloodshed in Syria.  Mr. Annan said he could not be the only one working for peace while the fighting between Syrian forces and the rebels intensified.  Mr. Annan's peace plan for Syria included an immediate cease-fire and talks on a transitional government. 
     
    Russia and China have vetoed three Security Council resolutions that would have held President Assad responsible for his failure to abide by Mr. Annan's peace plan and threatened him with sanctions. 

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

     

    Loading...

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Anonymous
    August 05, 2012 10:30 PM
    I hope that Assads whereabouts gets announced soon so that the world will know where this guy is. He is commiting more and more crimes against humanity from his hiding spot. How is it that someone like Assad can kill many thousands of innocent people, and yet he is still alive???

    by: Talena Holt from: Somerset, KY U.S.A.
    August 05, 2012 3:54 PM
    It's really hard to believe that in this day and time so much loss of life is a game to people. Why don't they have to use some of all that energy they have to do something productive, versus destructive?

    by: David Kruse from: Denver Colorado, US
    August 05, 2012 3:41 PM
    I wonder if the British and French had any idea that drawing borders in the former ottoman empire would cause the world such grief. Unfortunately, they took actions that have had unintended consequences. May the poor and innocent folks have the luck to survive the meddling of ignorant foreigners and their lackeys that have no respect for human rights.

    by: Ed from: USA
    August 05, 2012 3:22 PM
    Pls check this Video, based on the Iranian ID, they are part of the Iranian revelotion!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErpoufJefwY

    by: neomy sotto from: UN
    August 05, 2012 3:20 PM
    Iranian "pilgrims" armed with explosives... hey, they just want to pray to Alla... nuclear bomb??? what nuclear bomb...?? they just want a cheap alternative to oil...

    Iran... what a farce...

    by: FearToTellVOA from: USOfCourse
    August 05, 2012 3:17 PM
    VOA forgot to mention that US vetoed more UN resolutions than another countries.
    In Response

    by: James from: Nebraska
    August 06, 2012 7:01 PM
    To FearToTellVOA: thanks for playing.

    The correct answer is:
    USSR/Russia: 123, half of all UN vetos in the first ten years
    USA: 82, its first cast only in 1970, though nearly all since relate to the Israeli/Palestinian issue
    UK: 32, mostly regarding decolonization
    France: same as UK
    People's Republic of China/Republic of China: 6 - The ROC only issued one veto, over Mongolia's admission to the UN. The PRC issued the other five after Taiwan was ejected from the UN. China threatened to veto every African nation's admission if Mongolia was not admitted. The PRC usually abstains unless the issue directly relates to China.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_veto_power#Analysis_by_country

    by: Bib from: Trieste
    August 05, 2012 1:31 PM
    Wow nice AK...looks chinese from here...gotta love those chinese, they will supply anything to anyone to upset the sovis or the americans...

    by: J from: Seattle
    August 05, 2012 1:01 PM
    Creepy Americans cheering death, torture, kidnapping, whatever it is, it's usually a fairly psychotic affair. USA? USA? No thanks...

    by: johnny sparks from: atlantic beach fl
    August 05, 2012 12:26 PM
    Israel and the N.W.O. is served when Syria is fully unstable..Iran needs Syria for Her strategic position north of Israel,,,all countries around Israel,,,standing with Iran,,, will be destabilized first,,, Then, Israel will attack Iran.,,,,,,,,,Russia will wait for the U.S. and supply weapons and advisers at first.,,,, Maybe,,,,They might just nuke Israel,,,While China attacks the U.S.....lob some missiles,,, Preempt the War,,,,that's where this thing is going,,, WW3.,,,,,,,,,,, The Train Has left the Station
    In Response

    by: vonrik from: Manchester CT
    August 06, 2012 8:22 AM
    Johnny...you are so right....nobody is thinking about the what if Russia and China goes ahead and put the foot down and WW3 will begin.

    by: musawi melake from: anonymous
    August 05, 2012 11:17 AM
    It's the right decision on the part of the soveregin Syrian authorities to take lead from the Hon. President of the Russian federation, who did the right thing himself by striking first to destroy the terrorists in the Caucasus and later coming out with various forms of remedies for the grievances, if any,of the common man Western Powers are simply bent on acquiring unprecedented access to third-world treasures(resources) to keep their own peoples' living-standard high, and for that they are utilizing traitors to do terror campaign like suicide-bombing, killing press persons and kidnapping pilgrims, the same things, if done against their own nationals would force them to cry-foul and do so called drone-killings.
    In Response

    by: Jon Q Publik from: Good ol USofA
    August 05, 2012 3:28 PM
    People love money and power sooo much they are willing to decimate their own country. Sounds like we all really are alike.
    In Response

    by: moni from: freeland
    August 05, 2012 12:04 PM
    That is good kidnapping pilgrims, and kill them, that what Iran doing.
    There are the head of the snake, and has to be cut first.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.