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.

     

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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...

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    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 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 Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    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 First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    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.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora