News / Middle East

    Syrian Forces Push for Control of Damascus, Aleppo

    A man runs for cover during clashes between Free Syrian Army fighters and Syrian Army soldiers in the Salah al-Din neighborhood of central Aleppo August 4, 2012.
    A man runs for cover during clashes between Free Syrian Army fighters and Syrian Army soldiers in the Salah al-Din neighborhood of central Aleppo August 4, 2012.
    VOA News

    Explosions have rocked the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Saturday, and the northern city of Aleppo as security forces try to push rebels from their remaining strongholds. 


    The government says it has regained control of all of the capital.  The French news agency reports a brigadier general told journalists that rebels had resorted to hit-and-run tactics against security forces. 


    Activists say an entire district became a battleground in Aleppo on Saturday.  An army helicopter fired machine gun rounds and ground troops shelled targets in an attempt to oust rebels from their positions.


    The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than two dozen people were killed in anti-government-related violence across Syria on Saturday. 


    In another development, Iranian state media reports say 48 Iranian nationals who were aboard a bus in Damascus have been kidnapped.  Iran says efforts are under way to free the nationals, described as religious pilgrims.


    In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Iranians have traveled to Syria to visit the Sayeda Zeinab mosque, a holy Shi'ite shrine in Damascus.  Iranians have been targets for kidnap gangs several times since Syrian rebel groups began their mass uprising against President Bashar al-Assad more than 17 months ago. 


    Syrian rebels come mainly from the country's Sunni Muslim majority, while most Iranians practice Shi'ite Islam. 

     

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

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Nicholas Meinzer from: Salt Lake City
    August 05, 2012 9:14 AM
    As with many countries in the middle-east, protest for regime change broke out in Syria in the past two years, "the arab spring" it's being called; in Syria justifiably, it has been ruled by a family dictatorship for forty years; 'never mind what the people want if you're in the Assad family you're in.' Anyway, instead of dealing with the protests peacefully Bashir Assad had his police and military forces start beating and shooting people (teenagers) and threw out foreign journalists trying to cover the brutality; these are facts. That will get you a rebel army at your door my friends.

    Russia and China - UN security council decenters on Assad Regime sanctions - are probably just interested in trading arms for oil and counting on the world's public to forget how this all started, 'oh, well, comrade you must support the regime to handle this peacefully, anyway could we just get our trading partner back?' Obviously that ship has sailed.
    In Response

    by: giorgio from: england
    August 06, 2012 1:48 PM
    what is mater with muslims killing muslims childrens womens,assad he never go antill he destroy all syria, he should be hang him and all his friends, tomorow if all over give the busness to china and russia, they are good friend,they stop reall friend to come to help

    by: musawi melake from: anonymous
    August 04, 2012 10:18 PM
    The kidnapping of unarmed civilians, killing of journalists and suicide-bombings should have been enough to know what kind of Human-rights observatory mission is being carried out. The intelligence souls in Washington and other European capitals should have now known that this is nothing other than a terrorist-problem. They should be dealt with force like any other outfits that operates with either local or global aims. Why are they hesitant? The day of the so called Armed-struggles is over at the end of the cold-war, and peace should be won by peaceful means like forming a committee to find out the truth and find ways of reconciling the people, for whatever happened can not be revoked and it should be the responsibility of the Syrian govt. investigate and do remedy without outside interference. Bodies like UNHRC could be the arena for discussion, and the solution should be entirely home-grown. There are precedence for such things and the US and EU were active partners for such issues.

    by: Salty from: Arkansas
    August 04, 2012 5:14 PM
    So who are the good guys here? I am confused about this war.
    In Response

    by: Nick from: SLC
    August 06, 2012 3:17 AM
    I've posted an answer to your question above

    by: rick from: us
    August 04, 2012 5:07 PM
    here we have it folks,the reason we will invade iran and syria. this known as a proxy war. we have been arming and supporting the syrian rebels secretly so why would they want iranians? easy- so far no country has gotten involved on the books but everyone has been involved secretly. if Iran is the first to attack the rebels then we will get into syria and iran next

    by: Anonymous
    August 04, 2012 4:59 PM
    You seem to make it look as if the rebels are 100% wrong in the situation. The government refuses to listen to the UN and has not done anything to withdraw.

    by: Ed Hemp from: earth
    August 04, 2012 2:38 PM
    As I recall 444 days of US citizens being held in iran. Not to mention the those they have taken hostage since then. I'm really not overly concerned about the "pilgrims". They probably shouldn't have been traveling in syria.



    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 04, 2012 2:24 PM
    Of course Tehran must know where they are, for it knows all the players even by name. and even though by this the Syrians seem to be withdrawing from Ahmadinejad's payroll, he knows how to reach out to them and negotiate. I would have felt sorry for the hapless (civilian?) pilgrims caught in the cross fire (they're trying to send a message to Ahmadinejad to stop supporting Assad in killing Syrians), but the certainty that the Syrians are only playing Iranian game assures me that they are not in great danger, otherwise there would have been a need to sample the bit in Tehran streets how it feels to have your people either kidnapped or killed in terrorist attack.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora