News / Middle East

Human Rights Activists Say Syrian Forces Kill 24

Military armored vehicles are seen in the central city of Hama, Syria, August 1, 2011
Military armored vehicles are seen in the central city of Hama, Syria, August 1, 2011

Human rights activists say Syrian forces have killed at least 24 civilians in attacks on several cities, as the U.N. Security Council met to discuss President Bashar al-Assad's increasingly brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The activists said some of the attacks Monday came as people protested following evening prayers on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.

Watch raw video of security forces' attacks on anti-government protesters:

Residents in Hama said tanks resumed intense shelling of the city late Monday, and that troops fired machine guns at worshippers.  Rights groups say at least 80 people were killed throughout Syria in attacks Sunday, including 52 in Hama and neighboring villages.

The U.N. Security Council is set to meet Tuesday to continue discussing a draft resolution condemning Syria's attacks against civilians.

The Council held an emergency, closed-door session Monday to discuss Assad's violent crackdown.  European powers relaunched their dormant, U.S.-backed, draft resolution, but envoys disagreed over whether the 15-nation body should adopt the proposal or negotiate a less-binding statement.

Also Tuesday, Italy recalled its ambassador to Syria because of the "horrible repression of the civilian population."

The European Union has expanded sanctions against the Syrian government, imposing travel bans and asset freezes on five more officials.  The officials include Syrian Defense Minister Ali Habib Mahmud, as well as the head of internal security and the intelligence chief in Hama.

British Foreign Minister William Hague said the new sanctions send a clear message that those responsible for repression will be held accountable.

The EU has now placed sanctions against more than 30 people, including Assad, in its effort to stop the government assault.

South Africa joined in the condemnations of violence, saying it was concerned about the high number of deaths and the potential humanitarian impact of the violence.

In Washington Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the violence and appealed to Council members who have resisted efforts to adopt a resolution denouncing the Assad government for its crackdown.

One of those countries, Russia, issued an unusual criticism of the Syrian government Monday, condemning "the use of force against peaceful protesters" and urging restraint. Turkey also sharply raised its public condemnation of Assad's government following the attacks on Hama.

The hardening reactions from Moscow and Ankara are potentially significant as Russia holds weight at the U.N. and Turkey is a regional power and important trade partner with Syria.

Clinton will meet U.S.-based Syrian political activists in Washington Tuesday, her first attempt to reach out to the expatriate opposition since anti-government protests began in March.

It is difficult to verify accounts of the unrest in Syria because the government has barred most foreign media from reporting and traveling freely in the country. Some estimates say as many as 140 died in the clashes Sunday.

Rights groups say Syrian forces have killed at least 1,600 civilians during the crackdown. The government has blamed much of the violence on terrorists and militants who it says have killed hundreds of security personnel.

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

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

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs