News / Middle East

    Syria: West Looking for Excuse to Send in Troops

    A portrait of Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto is shown on a large monitor screen in Tokyo Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 during a TV news broadcast reporting her death in Syria.
    A portrait of Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto is shown on a large monitor screen in Tokyo Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 during a TV news broadcast reporting her death in Syria.
    VOA News
    Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil says the West is looking for an excuse for military intervention in his country, a move he says would be impossible.
     
    Jamil said during a visit to Moscow Tuesday that sending Western forces into Syria would lead to a wider war in the Middle East. He dismissed U.S. President Barack Obama's warning about what would happen if Syria were to use chemical weapons, calling it election propaganda.
     
    Obama Monday said a Syrian chemical weapons attack would be a "red line" that would significantly change the U.S. handling of the situation.
     
    In Syria, a Japanese journalist traveling with the rebels was killed when she was caught in a gunfight between rebel and government forces in Aleppo. Two Alhurra TV journalists who were with her are missing. 
     
    Japan's Foreign Ministry says Mika Yamamoto worked for the Tokyo-based Japan Press. 
     
    VOA correspondent Scott Bobb spoke to the driver who brought the journalists into Syria Monday. The driver said the Japanese reporter was hit by a bullet at close range while a second Japanese journalist scrambled over a wall to safety. The driver says an Alhurra reporter was shot in the shoulder and was taken away by Syrian militiamen along with his cameraman. 
     
    Alhurra's parent organization, the Broadcasting Board of Governnors, which also oversees VOA, has urged the Syrian government to ensure the safety of the two journalists, correspondent Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cuneyt Unal. 
     
    In an interview Tuesday with VOA, Reporters Without Borders spokeswoman Soazig Dollet said five foreign journalists have been killed since the start of the Syrian uprising. "Syria is now the most dangerous place for war reporter[s] in the world," he said. 
     
    Intense fighting continues across Syria in regions including Aleppo and Damascus, where President Bashar al-Assad's forces launched raids to oust rebels from their positions. Activists say Syrian troops stormed a neighborhood near the capital on Tuesday, and burned shops and homes. Opposition activists say more than 20 people were killed in violence across the country. 
     
    VOA reporter Bobb visited three towns in northern Syria - Tal Rifat, Aziz and Marea - all of which have been hit by Syrian aerial attacks.
     
    More than 40 people died in an attack last week in the border town of Azaz.  Bobb said people there fear Syrian warplanes may carry out more air raids. "Everyone keeps looking to the sky because what they greatly fear are the MIGs, which drop these 250-, some say 500-kilogram bombs that are mostly aimed at places where the government thinks the Free Syrian Army troops might be stationed or based, such as schools, hospitals or buildings they think could be headquarters.  But often they miss and these hit residential areas, and this is what’s causing so much of the human tragedy in these towns," he said. 
     
    Bobb also stopped in Tal Rifat near the city of Aleppo, and in Marea between Aleppo and the Turkish border.  He said about 40,000 people once lived in Tal Rifat, but only 2,000 are there now.  He noted that many of them have fled to Azaz or Turkey. 
     

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

    Photo Gallery: Latest Images from Syria
     

    • Free Syrian Army fighters run to take cover from fire from regime forces in the Seif El Dawla neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, August 24, 2012.
    • Buildings that were damaged after an exchange of fire between Free Syrian Army fighters with regime forces in the Seif El Dawla neighborhood Aleppo.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter runs to take cover from fire from regime forces in Seif El Dawla, August 24, 2012.
    • A Syrian man takes refuge at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing in Azaz, August 23, 2012. Thousands of Syrians who have been displaced are struggling to find safe shelter while shelling and airstrikes continue.
    • A Syrian girl who fled her home with her family due to fighting in Syria sleeps by her family's belongings at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing in Azaz, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey, August 23, 2012.
    • Members of the Free Syrian Army clash with Syrian army soldiers in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district, August 22, 2012.
    • Sunni gunmen sit on a street where clashes erupted between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime in Tripoli, Lebanon, Aug. 22, 2012.
    • Members of the Free Syrian Army take cover inside a house during clashes with Syrian army soldiers in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district, August 22, 2012.
    • Children play on a swing in the center of Aleppo city, August 22, 2012.
    • A Syrian rebel fighter stands guard in Saif al-Dawla district of Aleppo city, August 22, 2012.

     

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    by: Anonymous
    August 21, 2012 7:07 PM
    The west is NOT looking for an excuse to go there. IF Assad was not doing what he was doing none of this would be happening. The west has better places to spend money and risk lives. We as westerners shouldn't be even in a situation like this because what Assad is doing shouldn't be happening. We have morals, and we don't like to see killers who rule countries systematically killing their own people. Who else in the world likes to watch this? This is a (ex)leader killing its own people, this isn't a war with 2 countries. Assad needs to be stopped, enough talking about it world, lets put an end to the regime and move on, save some lives. It is what is best for the people of Syria.

    Of course the west doesn't want to sit back and sip tea while this is going on, what humane person can do that? Most of the world would like to see an end to Assad whether he is captured or killed.

    by: Sorikawa from: USA
    August 21, 2012 3:40 PM
    some say she is lucky... imagine what would have happened to her had she fallen into the hands of Arab mob... like in Cairo... death would have been considered a mercy than being repeatedly raped and sodomized by these Arabs... hey Japanese, take a word of advise... stay away from the middle east...

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