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's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid