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

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs