News / Middle East

Syria Air Strike Hits Gas Station, Dozens Killed

This image provided by Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated, shows a wounded man being pulled from the site of a Syrian government airstrike on a gas station in the eastern Damascus suburb of Mleiha, Syria, Jan. 2, 2013.
This image provided by Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated, shows a wounded man being pulled from the site of a Syrian government airstrike on a gas station in the eastern Damascus suburb of Mleiha, Syria, Jan. 2, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
— Opposition activists in Syria say government warplanes bombed a gasoline station near Damascus on Wednesday, reportedly killing dozens of people as they waited for fuel.

Amateur video showed bystanders running after the aerial assault in the Damascus suburb of Meliha. Young men clawed through twisted pieces of metal to pull victims from the rubble.

One witness told The Associated Press that a government warplane fired a single missile into the station.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that dozens of people were killed or wounded when a long line of vehicles waiting for fuel was attacked from the air.

A pro-government journalist reported that the gasoline station was a legitimate target because it was “close to an air defense base under rebel siege.” He said that rebels were seen “carrying shoulder-fired missiles in the area.”

Pro-government forces have bombed other civilian targets, including bakeries in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, in recent months.

  • A child uses a megaphone to lead others in chanting Free Syrian Army slogans during a demonstration in Bustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo, Syria, January 4, 2013.
  • Demonstrators step on a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a protest against his regime in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district, January 4, 2013.
  • Damaged buildings and shops with members of the Syrian army patrolling in the distance in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Men stand amidst wreckage and debris after a car bomb exploded at a crowded gas station in Barzeh al-Balad district in Damascus, in this handout photograph released by SANA on January 3, 2013.
  • A father reacts after the death of two of his children whom activists said were killed by shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters stand near a fire after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Residents wear masks as they search for bodies after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army stand behind a machine gun turret with a flag reading "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger" in Aleppo's Bustan Al Qaser district, Syria, January 2, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter asks a child to move away from his house's window as a security measure in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district December 30, 2012.
  • A boy watches men dig graves for future casualties of Syria's civil conflict at Sheikh Saeed cemetery in Azaz city, December 30, 2012.

Government strategy

Opposition activists have accused the government of trying to “starve the civilian population into submission.” Both bread and gasoline, which are normally subsidized by the government, are in short supply.

Riad Kahwaji, who heads the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said that one strategy of forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad is to terrorize the civilian population into turning against the rebels.

"This form of mass murder is aimed at terrorizing the population to force it to turn against the rebels," he said. "It is part of a strategic bombing that we have seen throughout history in wars between nations, but in this case it is a regime against its own people. It's using the heavy handed, very bloody approach to crush the rebellion. This is the strategy."

Rebel forces attacked the government-controlled Taftanaz Airbase in Idlib province Wednesday. It was at least the third major attack on the air base in recent months. Rebel fighters also continued to besiege and attack the Minnig Airbase, north of Aleppo.

Continued battles

Heavy fighting also has been taking place recently near both of Syria's civilian international airports in Aleppo and Damascus. Civilian air traffic is suspended at both facilities.

Analyst Kahwaji said that many government airbases are under serious rebel pressure.

"In the north, northeast, eastern part of the country and around the capital the rebels have managed to lay siege to many airports and have forced the regime to ground many of its planes," he said. "However, the regime still holds airbases up in the west, on the west coast, in the northwest and north of the capital. These are the airports that are being used now to launch most of the air raids."

The United Nations reported Wednesday that close to 60,000 Syrians have been killed since a popular uprising broke out in March of 2011.

Watch related video

Related video of Syria air strikei
X
January 02, 2013 4:27 PM
Related video of Syria air strike

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
January 04, 2013 12:48 PM
The Arab Nations and or the rest of the world should put a bounty on Bashar al Assads head. Then maybe even the Syrian Army will take him out. He needs to be stopped from bombing civilian neighborhoods at ANY cost. This is the best idea.


by: B. T. M. from: Jordan
January 02, 2013 4:56 PM
60000...??? who is counting...??? only last week it was 40000... Arabs - stupidity is our affliction ... i wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow you'll report 460000... the fact is that Putin is right, the mayhem in Syria is the work of the Muslim Brotherhood... and they have tried this filth here in Jordan, we just killed them fast enough... so the cancer did not metastasized...


by: George Douglas
January 02, 2013 4:09 PM
Assad must be hanged for what he has done to the people of Syria! The rest of the world leaders sit around commenting about the slaughter, but do nothing to stop it. 60,000 people have been killed by their own government. Where is the UN?? The UN is and always has been, worthless. The USA should demand that the UN move from this country and stop paying a cent to it.


by: Michael from: USA
January 02, 2013 9:41 AM
"The conflict began with peaceful" protests in Syria, and before that with, what in Arab-islam, is a demand for strict attention to One God. Of course, the Christian method is first to lay a foundation since "vocation" [a summon to say yes to the truth when it is come across] is the divine mission rather than activism

In Response

by: Nick
January 02, 2013 2:25 PM
crusade prayer (27) Prayer for Peace in the World

O My Jesus I beg for mercy
For those afflicted by terrible wars
I plead for peace to be instilled in those tortured nations
Who are blind to the truth of your existence
Please cover these nations with the power of the Holy Spirit so that they
Will stop their pursuit of power over innocent souls
Have mercy on all your countries who are powerless against the evil atrocities which cover the whole world
Amen

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid