News / Middle East

Syrian Rights Group: Dozens 'Arbitrarily' Detained in Banias

Banias, Syria
Banias, Syria
VOA News
A Syrian human rights group says security forces have arrested at least 68 people, including three children, over the past few days in and around the coastal city of Banias.

Mataz Suheil of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA Tuesday the "arbitrary detentions" of 25 women, three children and at least 40 men are believed to be in response to the kidnapping of a senior Syrian officer three days earlier.

Suheil said none of those detained has been charged with a crime, and he believes the detentions have been made to "basically blackmail" rebel fighters or activists to turn themselves in to authorities. He called on the U.N. General Assembly to take action this week to help broker a cease-fire to end the unrest.

"Without the cease-fire, all we see is an escalation of the conflict and a furthering away of any goals of an uprising or any attempt to better the humanitarian situation for ordinary civilians," said Suheil.

He called on international leaders to put aside politics when working toward a solution for Syria.

"What we'd really like to see from the international community is a consensus to see an end to the conflict - an attempt to get a consensus on a cease-fire by all sides. We'd like to see a unified General Assembly that does not try to go for political gains or narrow sovereign interests of Russia, for example, or China or the U.S. or Britain," he said.

Also Tuesday, Syrian insurgents detonated bombs at a building occupied by pro-government militias in Damascus. Rebels said they hoped their attack would kill top-level security officials - as they did with a major Damascus bombing in July - but they gave no casualty figure. State media said at least seven people were wounded, with minor damage to buildings.

Satellite images released Tuesday show the scope of Syrian military activity in neighborhoods of the besieged commercial center, Aleppo. A major U.S. science association says an analysis of high resolution images of Aleppo reveals that heavily armored vehicles were deployed in civilian neighborhoods during last month's fighting.

Battles between Syrian government forces and rebels continue in and around Syria's most populous city, which also faces government bombardment.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science said Tuesday that the new images were taken August 9 and 23. They show tanks and armored vehicles and more than 100 damaged buildings after a military push to take the city.

Syria limits outside reporting. The images confirm reports from citizens and rebel groups of a government siege on Aleppo neighborhoods.

The report comes as the aid group Save the Children is warning about the effects of the conflict in Syria on the nation's children. The group said children have been the target of attacks and have witnessed the deaths of family members.

The head of the organization, Justin Forsyth said "appalling acts of violence" are being committed against Syrian children, and that they need special care to help them recover.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Tom from: Canada
September 27, 2012 9:46 AM
How hypocritical the anti-Assad comments and crocodile tears for those killed. NO country will accept illegal demonstrations seeking to overthrow the state, much less the violent bombing, sniping and killing by the Sunni rebels in Syria.The best way to stop the killing is for the Sunni rebels to obey the rule of law - as in any other country.

by: Anonymous
September 26, 2012 8:05 AM
All the more reason the west and arab nations need to step up. More needs to be done to disable Assad once and for all. This killing by the government has gone on long enough. The longer it takes to intervene, the more that will die. The sooner intervention happens, the sooner Assad is gone, and the killings will start to cease. The world is watching, and the world wants to see Assad hang for his crimes.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

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