News / Middle East

Government Airstrike Destroys Damascus City Block

This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke and fire after a fighter jet crashed into a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 20, 2013.This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke and fire after a fighter jet crashed into a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 20, 2013.
x
This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke and fire after a fighter jet crashed into a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 20, 2013.
This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke and fire after a fighter jet crashed into a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 20, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Edward Yeranian
— A Syrian government airstrike over a Damascus suburb on Wednesday destroyed parts of a city block, killing or wounding dozens. The strike came amid intensified government shelling of rebel-held districts in and around the capital in recent days.

Young men screamed and cursed as they dug through the rubble of burning and collapsed buildings to pull out victims of a government airstrike in the Damascus suburb of Hamouriya. A live webcam broadcast showed a large city block engulfed in fire, as smoke poured from the ruins.

Fire and rescue vehicles arrived at the scene to try to douse dozens of burning shops, cars and buildings. Young men used crowbars to pry open smoldering vehicles and remove bodies, as ambulances ferried survivors away from the blast site.
 
Deaths from Syrian conflict, updated Feb. 14, 2013.Deaths from Syrian conflict, updated Feb. 14, 2013.
x
Deaths from Syrian conflict, updated Feb. 14, 2013.
Deaths from Syrian conflict, updated Feb. 14, 2013.
Elsewhere, witnesses reported intense bouts of shelling and multiple airstrikes by government forces in southern and eastern rebel-held districts of Damascus and its suburbs. A top rebel officer reportedly was wounded in one such government attack on the besieged suburb of Daraya.

In the Damascus district of Zamalka, a football player was killed and several others wounded when mortar rounds fell at a stadium complex. Syrian state TV reported that rebels had fired the mortars, showing a glass-strewn room and blood-stained sports bag allegedly belonging to one of the players.

Rebel sources claimed that mortar shells fired at a pro-government Ba'ath Party headquarters missed their target, hitting the stadium complex. Syrian government forces have taken over many stadiums and sports facilities during the 23 month-old conflict to use as military garrisons.

In Syria's northern commercial hub-city of Aleppo, rebel forces continued to attack the city's main international airport. Amateur video showed rebel fighters holding positions overlooking the airport. Government forces have sent in reinforcements in recent days to try to break the rebel siege.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, said the government has lost control of the main highway from Damascus to Aleppo, from Hama to Aleppo, but that government forces were able to use another route to send in reinforcements.

"Between Hama and Aleppo, the highway is in rebel hands. However, [the government] can access Aleppo through the deserts. There are by-roads and actually, heavy vehicles don't need paved roads in order to travel," said Khashan.

At the Arab Cooperation Forum in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that neither the Syrian government, nor the rebels, can win the conflict militarily, and that it must be solved through dialogue.

Lavrov said what is happening now shows it is time to put an end to the two-year long conflict because neither side can count on a military solution, which he said is a road to nowhere, just the mutual destruction of the nation.

The conference was attended by Arab League Secretary General Nabil ElArabi and the foreign ministers of Lebanon and Egypt. Both Russia and the Arab League said they are trying to create a transitional government to broker an end to Syria's conflict.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
February 21, 2013 4:27 PM
Hey Igor from Russia, you don't aerial bombard entire streets killing 30 civilian deaths, that is a war crime. You don't not care about civilians to kill everything on a street, that is nonsense. This is complete disregard for the civilians in Syria. Bashar al Assad is being a terrorist inflicting terror with no respect to the nation and people of Syria.


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 20, 2013 3:35 PM
Another terrible crime against humanity, these crimes will just continue, for as long as Assad and his criminal chronies have large weapons to destroy the civilian Sunni population. The need exists to save the thousands of Sunni Muslim civilans, who have no place to go, by destroying all of Assad's big weapons, that are causing these daily massacres of mainly Sunni Muslim civilians in Syria.

In Response

by: Anonymous
February 21, 2013 1:48 AM
Couldn't agree with you more. What he is doing is similar to carpet bombing civilian areas. No intentions of saving anyones life on the street even the innocent. This is a crime against humanity in its finest. 200 years ago this may of been an easy crime to get away with. Thank goodness for the people of Syria and their video recorders to record these crimes against their nation. Most of the cities, towns and villages are have areas completely destroyed from aerial bombardment. I bet that the death counts are much worse than anyone expects. If Bashar is off of Syrian soil (and in the med sea) and inflicting attacks on the Nation of Syria, this is a form of terrorism on the people of Syria.

Seems to me the dictionary definition for "Terrorism" is:
The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
February 20, 2013 10:32 PM
You are so short-sighted. Do you know the real culprits of those crimes against humanity? They are those who have been inciting riots, ethnic hatred, sowing division within Syrian society in the name of "Democracy" and they having doing so for their self-interest. And they are conspiring to blame Mr.Assad for all those crimes. In fact he is one of their victims.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid