News / Middle East

19 Killed as Syrian Opposition Sets General Strike

Anti-government protesters carry coffins of Sunni Muslim villagers killed in Hula, near Homs, Nov. 2, 2011.
Anti-government protesters carry coffins of Sunni Muslim villagers killed in Hula, near Homs, Nov. 2, 2011.

Syrian rights activists say at least 19 people were killed Thursday as government forces cracked down on opposition protesters and fought with army deserters in several parts of the country.

The activists say 13 civilians were among those killed, mostly in the central region of Homs. They say some of the dead were shot by security forces searching for dissidents, while the bodies of the others were located after they had gone missing. Homs has been the center of the eight-month-old uprising against autocratic Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the Associated Press, Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said an 8-year-old girl was among the victims in Homs.

Rights activists say attacks by suspected army defectors also killed six government soldiers, four of them in an ambush on their checkpoint in Idlib province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights tells VOA several major towns observed a general strike Thursday in solidarity with Homs, where dozens of people are believed to have been killed in recent days. The rights group says the strike was supported by many private-sector workers and schools, both in suburbs of Damascus and the areas around Homs, Hama, Daraa, Deir Ezzor and Idlib.

Syrian rights activists uploaded videos to YouTube that appeared to show many closed shops and stores in those communities.

The latest casualties and strike action could not be independently verified because Syria bars most foreign journalists from operating in the country.

Arab League pledge defied

Rights groups accuse Syrian security forces of killing more than 110 people since the government agreed last week to an Arab League plan that calls for an end to violence.

Under the agreement, Damascus promised to withdraw its security forces from the streets and begin talks with the opposition. The Arab League will meet on Saturday to discuss a response to what it sees as Syria's failure to honor those pledges.

On Wednesday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman urged the league to take a tougher stance against Damascus as part of a global effort to force al-Assad from power.

Earlier this week, the U.N. human rights office said at least 3,500 people have been killed in the country since the anti-government uprising began in March. U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday Syria faces a serious risk of descending into an armed struggle similar to the one Libya experienced this year.

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

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid