News / Middle East

Syria Fighting Rages Despite Holiday

  • Al-Bouydah, south of Damascus, after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, Oct. 17, 2013. (SANA)
  • Damage in a mosque in al-Bouydah, south of Damascus, after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from the Free Syrian Army, Oct. 17, 2013. (SANA)
  • Firefighters try to extinguish a fire after a mortar bomb landed in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • This image taken from video from the Shaam News Network shows smoke billowing amid buildings after a bomb explosion in Daraya, outside Damscus, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • Civilians gather at a site of a collapsed building that activists said was shelled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Deir al-Zor, October 14, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters fire anti-tank missiles during what they said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Hama countryside, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter reacts during what the FSA said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Hama countryside, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • This image made from citizen journalist video posted by the Shaam News Network shows the aftermath of a car bomb attack on a market in the town of Darkoush in Idlib province, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • People gather around the wreckage after two suicide car bombs exploded in the center of the Syrian capital Damascus, Oct. 13, 2013. (SANA)
Images from Syria
VOA News
Syrian warplanes bombed several rebel-held areas Tuesday and opposition fighters fired mortar rounds and homemade rockets at Damascus on the first day of a major Muslim holiday.

Syria's state news agency SANA said a mortar shell smashed into a house in the capital's al-Qanawat neighborhood, igniting a fire and wounding four people.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government warplanes bombed targets in the village of Latamneh in northern Hama province, killing three children, as well as areas of the Eastern Ghouta district, near Damascus, and the southern city of Daraa.

The fighting during Eid al-Adha showed how entrenched both sides have become in Syria's civil war. Previously, combatants occasionally attempted to observe holiday cease-fires.

The director of operations of the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, Bart Janssens, said the international community should be pushing for badly-needed humanitarian access in Syria as it mobilizes to destroy President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons stockpile.

"So what we see is that there have been very massive gains made in making a deal and even putting that into concrete action to have [chemical weapons] inspectors on the ground, and we really believe that this should be repeated to get more medicine and food in numerous enclaves where all aid is blocked," he said.

Janssens said that aid - especially medical aid - cannot cross front lines anymore. He said his group's supplies now took more than several weeks - instead of days, a couple of months ago - to move into hard-hit areas.

"These chemical weapons inspectors would visit areas where they will see these dire shortages of food and medicine, and this really brings [out] the absurdity of this situation," he said. "And so we really now believe that the government of Syria, the opposition groups, and the countries that have the influence to make such a deal should rapidly act and get a similar agreement, and similar deliveries results for humanitarian assistance that is truly needed in all of these enclaves."

Janssens said that besides a lack of medicine, more and more doctors were leaving areas seeing active fighting because they are so dangerous.

He predicted that in the coming weeks malnutrition would reach very dramatic levels there, resulting in increased mortality among people who had simply run out of food.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs