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.
    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

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 '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 New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    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 Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    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 Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.