News / Middle East

Syrian Violence Escalates as Diplomatic Efforts Falter

Demonstrators gather during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and Russia in Kafranbel near Idlib, January 20, 2012
Demonstrators gather during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and Russia in Kafranbel near Idlib, January 20, 2012

Violence in Syria continued Friday, bringing to more than 50 the number of people killed there over the past two days, as a resolution to curb the bloodshed appeared to be stalled in the United Nations.

In the northwestern city of Idlib, six security forces were among the more than 20 people left dead as a result of Friday's violence. Syrian activist Rami Abdul-Raham says the security forces were killed by a car bomb at a security checkpoint. Government forces were also reported to have carried out a raid in the flashpoint city of Homs.

Syrian government forces continued also to attack the country's fourth largest city of Hama for a third day. Witnesses in the poor district of Hamadiya reported that artillery shells were being fired "randomly" at their neighborhood.

Other witnesses say government forces continued to shell the Damascus suburb of Douma, inflicting numerous casualties. Outer suburbs of the capital came under attack, as well.

Opposition websites also reported what they claim was a "massacre" in Syria's third largest city of Homs.

The Free Syrian Army claimed in a video to be holding five Iranian captives.  The Free Syrian Army claims the men were working as government "snipers" and belong to Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

Iran's Mehr news agency, however, says they are engineers, kidnapped in Homs last October.

A large crowd of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Homs to bury several victims of recent fighting,

The Syrian government's attacks are taking place close to the 30th anniversary of a bloody siege that nearly destroyed the city of Hama in 1982, when government artillery killed between 12,000 and 20,000 people.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, says it will be difficult for Syria's government to repeat what happened in 1982.  

Diab says the government of Bashar al-Assad faces a revolt spread out across the four corners of the country.  Diab says he doesn't believe the regime can regain control, and says it is losing control in many places.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani are due to meet with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York to discuss implementing a league plan for a national unity government and new elections.

The Security Council was due to meet later Friday to begin discussions on Syria.

Russia said Friday it will not support a joint Arab-Western draft resolution in the U.N. to end the 10-month-old crisis because it "does not take into account" Moscow's positions on how to curb the violence.  The stance is likely to stall progress on any U.N. action concerning Syria.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs