News / Middle East

    Syrian Opposition Names Interim Leader

    Syria map Syria map
    x
    Syria map
    Syria map
    VOA News
    Syria's opposition coalition named a veteran dissident Monday as its interim leader.
     
    George Sabra, who was jailed several times for opposing the regimes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father, will retain the caretaker position until an opposition group meeting set for May 11.
     
    Sabra appealed at a news conference in Istanbul for increased global support for the rebel cause. He replaces Mouaz al-Khatib who resigned in March while complaining that the international community has not done enough to help the Syrian people.
     
    Also Monday, European Union governments agreed to ease sanctions against Syria in order to allow crude oil purchases from opposition forces in hopes of providing a financial lifeline to rebels fighting the Assad government.
     
    Under Monday's decision, European importers will be allowed to buy oil from facilities in rebel-held Syrian territories and also to export oil production technology and investment cash to the rebel-held areas, if authorized by Syria's opposition National Coalition.
     
    The EU sanctions were first imposed in 2011 in response to Assad's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
     
    Syrian activists and rebel fighters said on Monday that a six-day government offensive on a mostly Sunni area near Damascus has killed at least 100 people and possibly many more. The death toll could be the largest from a single military campaign in almost a year.
     
    The exact number of dead in the districts of Jdaidet Artouz and Jdaidet al-Fadel could not be confirmed. The two adjacent neighborhoods are about 15 kilometers southwest of Damascus.
     
    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said activists had documented 101 dead in Jdaidet al-Fadel, including 10 women and three children. But the Observatory said the actual number killed could be as high as 250.
     
    Another activist group, The Local Coordination Committees, put the death toll at 483. It said most of the victims were killed in Jdaidet Artouz.
     
    Activist videos posted on the Internet claimed to show several bodies of those killed covered in bags and laid out on the ground. Some appeared to have been executed with gunshot wounds to the head.
     
    Syria's state-run SANA news agency said government troops had "inflicted heavy losses upon terrorists in the town of Jdaidet al-Fadel." Syrian authorities refer to those fighting to end President Assad's rule as "terrorists."
     
    British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the reports of the massacre underline the urgent need to bring Syria's war to an end.
     
    Meanwhile, the Syrian army continued its offensive near the Lebanese border around the western rebel stronghold of Qusair, with the help of pro-government militia and Lebanese Hezbollah militants.
     
    Hezbollah, a key Assad ally, has denied sending its fighters to Syria.
     
    Human Rights Watch on Monday called on both Syrian government and rebel forces to end "indiscriminate cross-border attacks" on areas in Lebanon, warning they violate international law.
     
    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    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 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 US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    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 Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    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.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    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 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 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 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.