News / Middle East

Fighting Rages in Syria, Turkey Closes Key Crossings

Henry Ridgwell
ONCUPINAR, Turkey - Fierce fighting continued in Syria on Wednesday. Rebels sent reinforcements to the battered historic city of Aleppo as government forces stepped up attacks with helicopters and machine guns.
 
Activists say rebels set fire to a police station near Aleppo. They also say clashes and heavy shelling have continued in regions including Homs, Hama, Deir el-Zour and the Damascus suburbs as President Bashar al-Assad tries to maintain his grip on power.
 
The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 40 people have been killed across Syria on Wednesday.

Watch related video of violence in Aleppo:

Turkey Closes Border

Neighboring Turkey has closed key border crossings to commercial traffic from Syria but says they remain open for refugees.
 
Ankara says it is taking the measure due to security concerns. Last week, Turkish drivers said their trucks were looted and burned as rebels captured the Syrian side of the Cilvegozu crossing from government forces.
 
Analysts say the closures will affect Syria's economy by hitting cross-border trade.
 
At the Kilis refugee camp near Oncupinar, Syrian refugee Abu Hasan expressed support for Turkey's policy. "I think this is an appropriate decision," he said. "Turkey is making the decision to protect its border as well as to protect us."
 
The Killis camp houses more than 11,000 Syrians.
 
Refugees Increasing
 
The number of refugees is increasing, with most using clandestine smuggling routes over the border.
 
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay says more than 44,000 refugees are now sheltered in Turkey.
 
"There is an expectation that more people may come in," he said. "Therefore, today we have decided to build new camps in several locations including Osmaniye, Kahramanmaras and Nizip."
 
The Arab League has pledged $100 million to help the Syrian refugees.
 
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal says Turkey welcomes donations of equipment, but does not need personnel.
 
"Some of this assistance has arrived, in the sense of material assistance, and we are ready to receive more of the selected items that we have announced," he said. "And our open door policy will continue."

Reducing the U.N. Mission
 
Meanwhile, U.N. observers in Syria say their mission is dwindling.
 
Herve Ladsous, the head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, said the Syrian operation continues on a "reduced basis."
 
He told reporters in Damascus on Wednesday that the security situation in many parts of the country is "extremely delicate."

  • This image made from amateur video released by the Ugarit News shows a Free Syrian Army solider firing his weapon during clashes with Syrian government troops in Aleppo, Syria, July 24, 2012.
  • Free Syrian Army soldiers at the border town of Azaz, 32 kilometers north of Aleppo, Syria, July 24, 2012.
  • This image from amateur video released by the Ugarit News shows a Free Syrian Army solider driving a Syrian military tank in Aleppo, Syria, July 24, 2012.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network purports to show a helicopter gunship flying a bombing run in al-Qalmoun, Syria, July 24, 2012.
  • This image provided by Shaam News Network shows smoke rising from Juret al-Shayah in Homs, Syria, July 23, 2012.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network purports to show damage from heavy shelling of the al-Qadam district of Damascus, Syria, July 23, 2012.
  • A member of the Free Syrian Army points his weapon through a hole in a wall as he takes up a defense position in a house in Qusseer neighborhood in Homs, Syria, July 16, 2012.
  • A woman holds a child in front of their destroyed home in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers northwest of Hama, July 14, 2012.
  • Free Syrian Army soldiers aim their weapons in Idlib, northern Syria, July 13, 2012.
  • This image made from amateur video from Hama Revolution 2011 purports to show a funeral for victims killed in Tremseh, Syria, July 13, 2012. (AP/ Hama Revolution 2011)
  • This image made from amateur video from Hama Revolution 2011purports to show families gathered around bodies of victims killed in Tremseh, Syria, July 13, 2012.
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army walk through Qusseer neighborhood in Homs, Syria, July 15, 2012.
On Friday, the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution renewing the observer mission for up to 30 days. The resolution allows for a pullout if the violence does not stop.
 
Earlier this week, the European Union decided to strengthen its arms embargo against the Syrian regime, blacklist nearly 30 government-associated people and companies, and ban the Syrian national airline from landing in EU countries.
 
On Wednesday, Russia's foreign ministry expressed opposition to the EU sanctions, saying they could be seen as a "blockade" of the country.
 
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joseph Zrnchik from: Highland, IN
August 05, 2012 4:55 AM
Michael from Cleveland,

That Iraq was a Sunni state when the US attacked does not mitigate the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of Shiites killed and that during the occupation the US fought non-Sunni militias as much as they did the "Baathist Dead-enders". In fact, the US ended up making allies of the "Sons of Iraq" and the "Awakening Councils" which were Sunni militias as the US was fighting Shiite SCIRI (later SIIC), the Badr Brigades and the Madhi Army, not to mention the scores of local Shiite militia groups that had established checkpoints and controlled neighborhoods.

That Saddam was Sunni does not mean he had a relationship with al Qaeda or bin Laden. He despised them as much as Iraqi and Iranian Shiites did/do.

As far as tactical brilliance, this is an overstatement. Tanks and heavy artillery are never good tools for fighting in a built up areas as MOUT requires street-to-street, house-to-house and room-to-room fighting that is man-power intensive and will deplete any force. Saddam was an idiot for trusting the U.S. and leaving Kuwait only to have the US stab him in the back on the Highway of Death after he agreed to return his army to Iraq and was promised safe passage by the U.S.

But, how smart is it if what you seek to win lies completely in ruins because you fought and destroyed what you could have won through negotiation? All al Qaeda did was destroy the homes and businesses that Sunnis lived in and worked at. They refused to negotiate and ended up destroying their own land. Do you think the al Qaeda imports care about the common person's house or job? They are all radical jihadists. Assad wanted to provide reforms, but the US would rather destroy all of Syria, in fact wanted to destroy all of Syria to marginalize it and use it to get under Iran's skin for Israel. So, now we will see how much these Sunni fighters will end up under the Iraq government's and Jordanian government's skin as these Sunnis death squads begin their terror and destruction campaign.

Mark my words, the US will curse the day it made alliances with al Qaeda.

by: east from: China
July 26, 2012 2:44 AM
Two dogs are flighting at home,then a tiger and a fewer wolves will take the opportunity to kick out ur door,finally the two dogs will..................

by: Anonymous
July 25, 2012 9:28 PM
You just keep sipping your tea Lavrov, Putin, and Medvedev while thousands are being tortured, raped, and less terrible killed.

I hope you wear that cup of tea you are sipping, you guys have proven time after time you are useless to the world. Show the world you care someday, you care nothing about anyone but money in your own pockets, from weapons, black market or any other way you can get it. I pray for your country to overthrow you guys.

by: Anonymous
July 25, 2012 9:20 PM
Funny how the Russians use the RT.com website to promote their propaganda, comical...

Lavrov states "US position on Syria directly endorses terrorism"

What an idiot and so is anyone who listens to him, we in the west believe that "Russian Government position in Syria directly endorses genocide, and Russia has only one interest there, not the innocent civillians, just their navy base, it's evident."

If the Russian Government had any care in the world for the Syrian people as a whole, they would of told Assad to get out of town... But because Russia has backed the leader Assad for many years, Russia cares nothing about the Syrian people, just accepting money and likely bribes from Assad.

by: Michael from: Cleveland
July 25, 2012 7:43 PM
First let me say that Iraq was lead by Sunni before the war and only after did the Shiite get into a position of power. So Joseph Zrnchik from: Highland, IN should check his facts and take some time to really understand the world. And please stay away from the Kool aid, it rots your brain.
Second, I really do not know how well organized the FSA is and my guess is not very well. I do not know if it is strategy or just dumb luck but, what they are doing is brilliant tactically. The core of the Syrian army is armor and heavy weapons and that requires both a lot of logistics and maintenance to keep them in the field. By attacking Damascus and waiting a few days and going into Aleppo and retreating from Damascus they are forcing all of this to move constantly. If they do this right they will back out of Aleppo and go back after Damascus while the whole time harassing the supply convoys and staging areas with small groups. There are some other areas they can hit also to force the army to try to defend everywhere at once and be unable to defend anywhere.
Art of war, Still as true today as it ever was :)

by: Anonymous
July 25, 2012 4:32 PM
Of the 40 killed today how many were terrorists? Likely none.
Likely innocent men, women and children. There is only one terrorist in Syria, his name is Assad, terrorizing his own people. I hope FSA gets their hands on him soon...It will be a happy ending just like Saddam & Ghadaffi. Seeing as Assad has chosen to go down with the ship, I hope he pays through the nose and then some.

by: Burak from: Turkey
July 25, 2012 2:59 PM
Turkey always help people no matter what their nation is.As always did in the past.

by: Joseph Zrnchik from: Highland, IN
July 25, 2012 8:03 AM
The militants are al Qaeda funded by Saudi Arabia. This is proof the Saudi government was connected to the 9/11 attacks on the US. Yet, since Bush was buddies with the bin Laden family we decided to attack a Shiite Iraq for what a Sunni Saudi did on 9/11. That makes as much sense as attacking Canada for what a Mexican drug lord did. Then we supported these al Qaeda fighters in Libya and now we are doing it in Syria. I thought we fought a decade long war to stop al Qaeda. So, why are we now supporting them? Another peice of evidence that shows the War on Terror is just a scam to put Americans under a police state.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More