News / Middle East

Syrian Forces Kill 12 as ICRC Head Visits Damascus

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, right, meets with ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger, left, in Damascus, Syria, on Sunday September 4, 2011.
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, right, meets with ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger, left, in Damascus, Syria, on Sunday September 4, 2011.

Syrian security forces have killed at least 12 civilians in raids on restive northwestern towns as the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross visited Damascus to push for medical care for the wounded and access to detainees.

Rights groups said Sunday that troops cracking down on pro-democracy protesters killed eight people in northern Idlib province and four more in central areas near Hama.

Both regions have seen intensified government operations against people involved in popular unrest since last week's defection of Hama's attorney-general. Authorities are hunting for Judge Adnan Bakkour in the countryside around the flashpoint city.

Also Sunday, the state-run news agency (SANA) reported that armed "terrorist" groups ambushed a bus in central Syria, killing nine people - six soldiers and three civilians.

Meanwhile, ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger met with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem Sunday and is scheduled to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Monday.

Earlier, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said Syria agreed to host him for a visit, likely this week. Elaraby said Sunday the Syrian government told him it "welcomes" the trip. He said he will express Arab concerns about the violence that has shaken the country and listen to the opinions of Syrian leaders.

One week ago, Syrian authorities rejected an Arab League statement calling for an end to the violence. The pan-Arab organization - of which Syria is a member - urged Mr. Assad to stop the bloodshed "before it is too late."

The United Nations says more than 2,200 people have been killed during the Syrian crackdown since March, when protesters began calling for reforms and an end to Mr. Assad's autocratic rule. The Syrian government blames the violence on what it calls armed gangs and terrorists backed by foreign conspirators.

Syrian activists reported government forces killed five people Saturday.

Witnesses said government tanks also moved against the town of Telkalakh, near the Lebanese border, and mourners in the Damascus suburb of Douma chanted slogans denouncing the killing of a young protester Friday.

Mr. Assad's crackdown on dissent has drawn international criticism and sanctions. The European Union announced Friday it is banning imports of Syrian oil and petroleum products, which will cost the embattled government millions of dollars each day.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned the EU action, saying unilateral sanctions do no good and destroy partnerships. The United States said the embargo sends a powerful message to Mr. Assad's government to end the violence and allow a peaceful political transition to begin.

Washington has hit more than 30 Syrian officials, including Mr. Assad himself, with economic sanctions, banned any U.S. import of Syrian oil and frozen all Syrian government assets subject to American jurisdiction. But the U.S. has isolated Syria for decades and has little leverage with the government - unlike the EU.

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 Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid