News / Middle East

Activists: Car Bomb Kills 18 in Syria

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires his weapon at Syrian Army positions in Aleppo, Syria, September 11, 2012.
A Free Syrian Army fighter fires his weapon at Syrian Army positions in Aleppo, Syria, September 11, 2012.
VOA News
Syrian activists say a car bomb killed 18 people Wednesday in northern Syria.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the blast in Idlib province targeted Syrian soldiers.

The new United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, heads to Damascus Thursday for a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  Brahimi says his task in Syria will be difficult that he will try his best to give as much help as possible to the Syrian people.

The U.N. and Arab League have made no progress on reaching a cease-fire in Syria and starting talks on a transitional government.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says the world is deadlocked over Syria, warning of more radicalization and violence.

Ashton told the European Parliament that there is a dangerous stalemate in Syria.  She says the opposition is fragmented and that there is no real alternative to the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, Syrian troops and rebels clashed in the commercial capital, Aleppo, near the city's government-held airport, as battles intensify ahead of a visit by the new international peace envoy to Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other activist groups said the heavy fighting erupted at dawn Wednesday in the Nayrab area, about five kilometers from Aleppo International Airport.

Timeline of the Uprising in Syria:

  • March 2011: First protests erupt, dozens killed. Government announces reforms, then resigns.
  • April, May 2011: Protests intensify and spread, hundreds killed. U.S. imposes sanctions on top leaders.
  • August, September 2011: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain withdraw ambassadors. U.S. imposes economic sanctions, EU bans Syrian oil imports.
  • October 2011: Russia, China veto a U.N. resolution condemning Syria.
  • November 2011: The Arab League suspends Syria's membership.
  • January 2012: Government releases 5,000 prisoners. Death toll soars past 7,000.
  • February 2012: Russia, China veto a second U.N. resolution condemning crackdown
  • March 2012: Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan holds talks in Syria. U.N. says death toll exceeds 9,000. Syria agrees to U.N.-backed peace plan.
  • April 2012: Syria says it will abide by a cease-fire on April 12, but violence continues. U.N. observers arrive.
  • May 2012: Syria holds parliamentary elections, violence continues, U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan appeals to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the violence.
  • June 2012: Western nations expel Syrian diplomats, Annan urges increased pressure on Syria.
  • July 2012: Red Cross expands areas of Syria it says are in civil war. Violence increases across the country.
  • August 2012: A day after Syrian warplanes attacked the rebel-controlled northern town of Azaz and a bombing near the U.N. observer headquarters in Damascus, the United Nations Security Council decided to end the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria when its mandate expires on August 19.
  • September 2012: Fighting intensifies in Aleppo and continues across the country.  New U.N.-Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, is expected to visit the country and meet with Assad.
The facility, which includes a military base, is widely used by the government to bomb rebel-held areas. Over the past several weeks, rebels have been attacking military airfields in an attempt to prevent them from being used for launching air strikes, while commercial facilities have been left alone.

New envoy

Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to stop the bloodshed in Syria, but the new U.N.-Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, plans to travel to the country this week in a bid to revive them.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Brahimi will sit down with President Bashar al-Assad when he makes his first official visit to Syria, although the date has not been set.

Brahimi replaces former envoy Kofi Annan, who failed to reach a cease-fire in Syria and open talks on a transitional government.

U.N. officials say the fighting in Syria has killed about 20,000 people, nearly all of them civilians, and driven more than one million from their homes.

More than 250,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey. The U.N refugee agency calls the humanitarian problems caused by the war its biggest crisis.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs