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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid