News / Middle East

Syrian Forces Clamp Down on Damascus

A Syrian army tank is seen in the Zabadani neighborhood of  Damascus (file photo).
A Syrian army tank is seen in the Zabadani neighborhood of Damascus (file photo).

Syrian security forces have deployed heavily in a tense Damascus neighborhood, blocking opposition activists from staging a second day of mass protests, as the government continued a nationwide crackdown on protest hubs.

Activists said Syrian police flooded the Mezze district on Sunday to prevent a funeral for a young protester from turning into a major rally against President Bashar al-Assad. Samer al-Khatib was shot dead Saturday, as security forces fired on a mass funeral for several other anti-Assad activists killed in a police crackdown the day before. The mass funeral was one of the Syrian capital's largest anti-Assad rallies of an 11-month opposition uprising.

Activists said police and pro-government militiamen forced Khatib's family to hold Sunday's funeral earlier than planned. Activist groups posted messages on Facebook urging Damascus residents to hold a one-day strike in solidarity with the uprising, but there was little response with the capital under tight government control.

Watch video of action in Damascus

Elsewhere, activists reported 14 people killed in violence linked to the revolt across Syria. Syrian state media said gunmen attacked a car carrying a Syrian state prosecutor and a judge in the northwestern province of Idlib, killing both officials and their driver  Their deaths follow the Saturday assassination of an Aleppo city council member. Syrian state news agency SANA blamed "terrorists" for the killings.

SANA also said 12 security personnel were buried Sunday, after being killed in fighting with rebels. None of the casualty figures from the government or the activists could be independently verified because Syria restricts the work of foreign media.

The top U.S. military officer, General Martin Dempsey, said foreign intervention in the Syrian unrest would be "very difficult" because the Assad government has what he called a "very sophisticated, integrated" air defense system and chemical and biological weapons.

In an interview with U.S. television network CNN broadcast on Sunday, General Dempsey also said it is "premature" to arm Syrian opposition groups fighting to end Mr. Assad's 11-year autocratic rule. He said he challenges anyone to clearly identify Syria's opposition movement, much of which is in exile and lacks a unified structure.

Meanwhile, Egypt recalled its ambassador in Damascus, becoming the latest Arab nation to diplomatically isolate President Assad in the hope of pressuring him to end his deadly crackdown on dissent. Rights activists say the crackdown has killed more than 6,000 people since March.

 

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

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.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid