News

As Syrian Government Claims Pullout, Activists Report Attacks

This satellite image posted on the U.S. Embassy Damascus Facebook page Saturday, April 7, 2012, shows the presence of a military convoy in Zirdana, Syria on April 5, right, next to imagery of the same area on April 4, showing no military convoy, according
This satellite image posted on the U.S. Embassy Damascus Facebook page Saturday, April 7, 2012, shows the presence of a military convoy in Zirdana, Syria on April 5, right, next to imagery of the same area on April 4, showing no military convoy, according

Syrian activists reported military attacks on two towns and no large-scale troop pullout Tuesday, even as Syria's government claimed its forces have begun withdrawing from some cities in compliance with a U.N.-brokered truce.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces shelled the central city of Hama and the northwestern town of Mareh while parts of Homs came under mortar fire. The group also said insurgents killed six soldiers in attacks on two checkpoints near the remote desert town of Marqada, south of the Turkish border.

In Moscow, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Damascus has started to fulfill U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's plan to end the violence. But he seemed to raise another new demand, saying a cease-fire must start simultaneously with the deployment of an international observer mission.

Moallem's Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, said the Syrian government "could have been more decisive" in implementing the peace plan, but he also called on opposition forces to halt the violence. Russia has been one of few world powers to offer some support to Assad in his bloody standoff with protestors.

Annan in Turkey

Meanwhile, Annan arrived in Turkey and was on his way toward the border with Syria. He will visit a Turkish-sponsored refugee camp where shootings by Syrian forces from across the frontier wounded six people - including two Turkish nationals - on Monday. Unconfirmed reports said two people were killed.

Pro-Assad troops also opened fire across the tense Lebanese border the same day, killing a television cameraman.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Tuesday accused Syria of violating the border and said his country is considering what steps to take in response, including measures "we do not want to think about." He did not elaborate.

Turkey, which has already given shelter to some 24,000 Syrian refugees, has floated the idea of creating security zones along its border, a step that could drag the Turkish military into the conflict. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who was accompanying Erdogan during an official trip to China, will cut short his visit and fly home Tuesday because of the recent developments.

China expresses concern

China's foreign ministry expressed concern Tuesday over the border incidents and again called on the Syrian government and opposition forces to immediately back the international truce plan.

The United States and the United Nations condemned Syria's attack on the refugee camp in the border town of Kilis as well as the death of the TV journalist in Lebanon.

The deal brokered by Annan says Syria must begin pulling its troops out of population centers by Tuesday morning, with a full cease-fire by both sides within 48 hours. But hopes for the plan dimmed after the fresh wave of violence and new demands by the government for written guarantees that the opposition will lay down arms first.

Activists reported more than 125 people killed since Sunday within Syria as forces loyal to Assad continued to shell rebellious cities as a bloody crackdown continued on a 13-month anti-government uprising.

Human Rights Watch said Syrian forces have summarily executed more than 100 people, mostly civilians, during the past four months, mostly in March. Monday's report said this includes several mass executions in the restive provinces of Homs and Idlib.

U.N. officials say more than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began 13 months ago.



Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Fatimah
April 10, 2012 8:45 AM
It is sickening to read posts by people supporting the Assad dictatorship as Assad and his supporters murder innocent Syrians and commit unspeakable acts of terror against women, children and the elderly. Either these posts are being made by supporters of Assad who may also have the blood of innocent human beings on their hands or by people who have no compassion for the suffering of other human beings.

by: John
April 10, 2012 6:13 AM
No doubt the activists and the government are both attacking each other. No doubt the worst side will win.

by: sanawie
April 10, 2012 4:52 AM
the is playing ,why should assad forces withdraw/ when the opposition is not ready.mr assad will stay in power by the will of god,not yours.bravo mr putin.

by: Yamani
April 10, 2012 3:30 AM
In fact there are many players in Syria, each player concerns on his benefits, the follower to situation in Syria considers this fact, but in my opinion Asad president is the worse one, because he simply can avoid his country all this damage if he resigned and called for real democratic election. if he done that earlier he would defeat all others players.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs