News / Middle East

    Syria Braces for More Anti-Regime Protests

    Syrian military vehicles leave Daraa, May 5, 2011
    Syrian military vehicles leave Daraa, May 5, 2011

    Syrian government forces expanded their crackdown on public opposition Thursday uprising, deploying tanks around the historic city of Hama, where the Syrian regime crushed a revolt almost 20 years ago. Opposition websites are calling for further anti-government protests Friday.

    The Syrian government released a number of mostly young detainees arrested in recent days, in what appeared to be a calculated gesture to pull back from the brink of conflict.  However, rights activists say there were more arrests in Banias and nearby villages.

    Tanks and military personnel remained positioned to intervene further in the restive flashpoint cities of Homs, Hama, Banyas, and suburbs of Daraa, but no clashes were reported. A fresh opposition protest is expected Friday, but the government crackdown could limit turnout.

    The city of Homs, shelled by army tanks Wednesday, was quiet, but most shops and businesses were closed and streets appeared deserted.

    Security forces and government militiamen also reportedly arrested scores of people when they broke up a demonstration by several thousand students at Aleppo University late Wednesday.  

    Dozens of young people held a nighttime vigil in the coastal city of Latakia, according to a video on Facebook.  Foreign journalists are not being allowed to enter Syria, so the vigil and other reported protests could not be independently confirmed.

    Syrian government television repeated claims that terrorists and outside agitators have been attacking army troops.  It says the government is trying to restore order.

    Meanwhile, in Libya, NATO planes attacked targets in Tripoli including part of leader Moammar Gadhafi’s military compound. The airstrike began just after Libyan television showed a meeting between Gadhafi and tribal leaders.

    Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said a bomb dropped by a NATO jet killed two Libyan journalists filming a documentary, in an area used as a playground for children.  He refused to allow journalists to visit what several claimed was a bunker under the playground.

    Moussa denounced the NATO bombings and said the Libyan government has repeatedly accepted a truce and negotiations.

    He says the Gadhafi government is the only side that has announced it accepted all peace initiatives, including plans proposed by the African Union and Turkey, and agreed to peace and dialogue. Moussa claims the rebels and NATO have refused all attempts at peace and dialogue because - in his words - they know that a peace process will turn them into losers, since the Libyan people will reject them.

    NATO says the Libyan leader and his forces have been attacking their own people, and that their offensive must stop immediately.

    Fighting continued in several other parts of Libya Thursday.  Rebels claim they now control 85 percent of the city of Misrata - including the airport - and have ousted Gadhafi loyalists.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora