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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.