News

    Syria Government, Opponents Trade Blame Over Massive Blast

    United Nations observers in Syria leave the UN office in Damascus, April 26, 2012.
    United Nations observers in Syria leave the UN office in Damascus, April 26, 2012.

    The Syrian government blamed "terrorists" Thursday for a massive explosion in the central city of Hama that killed at least 16 people as the tenuous cease-fire continues to unravel amid more violence and a rising death toll.

    Both government and rebels traded blame over the blast that caused a huge fireball in a residential neighborhood on Wednesday. The state-run news agency said terrorists were setting up an explosive device when it detonated in the neighborhood.

    Anti-government activists, however, blamed security forces for causing the incident, which they say was part of violence that claimed at least 27 lives across the country on Wednesday.

    Thursday, the Syrian Revolution General Commission says seven people were killed in anti-government related violence. It says most of the deaths resulted from government shelling in the eastern region of Deir el-Zour.

    The opposition Syrian National Council called for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting that would focus on protecting civilians in Syria. The group cited escalating attacks in Hama and other cities as reasons for the request.

    Reported deaths in violence across Syria

    The Associated Press says monitors on Thursday inspected the site of Wednesday's explosion in Hama. There was no immediate word on the outcome of their visit.

    In another development, former Syrian Prime Minister Maarouf al-Dawalibi's son announced plans to form a government in exile. Nofal al-Dawalibi said the more prominent Syrian National Council had failed in its efforts to represent the Syrian people.

    Over the coming months, the U.N. observer mission will expand from its current level of about a dozen monitors to about 300.  

    But Carnegie Middle East Center Director Paul Salem says Syria's continued violence will make it clear to observers that the cease-fire brokered by envoy Kofi Annan is not being implemented.

    "I think it will be clear to the monitors very soon that this cease-fire is certainly not holding in a significant and final way," Salem said.

    Salem adds that the presence of more U.N. monitors may not be enough to curb violence.

    "Syria is a very large country. The violence has moved from one location to another. It will be a challenge for the monitors to try to be in all places all the time. It's also the case, I think, that the government will claim that when violence does erupt, they will claim that it started from the rebels and they are just responding," Salem explained.

    The United Nations estimates that more than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria's crackdown on the uprising, while activist groups put the death toll at more than 11,000.

    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: MJ
    April 30, 2012 11:10 AM
    Martin, you are so right I am syrian an d I live in US, And Just came back from syria I spent Nov, Dec, and half of January there, and yes Syian people like not you , want the Goverment to step up and get red of these Thugs

    by: Cha Cha Cohen
    April 27, 2012 7:43 AM
    Oppositions are lack of intelligence! Why their faces are covered? I have heard that they have infiltrated from Iraq & out side and they are paid heavily by the dumb trouble makers. God will surely punish them! Lets be honest and forward looking!Thanks to Kofi for being thoughtful!

    by: BH
    April 26, 2012 3:54 PM
    Syria is without doubt facing up to a major conspiracy, and the media's biased reporting is greatly inflaming the situation. The greatest majority of Syrians do not want the country to become another Iraq or Lybia. The Syrian government is absolutely right in focusing on maintaining order first and before all. It will win because It has the backing of the Syrian majority.

    by: Spongebob2007
    April 26, 2012 3:49 PM
    In answer to Sam, maybe to avoid losing 9000 more civilian lives?!? But since you didn't think about the lives lost you obviously only care about regime change in Syria. Do you have relatives in the UK police or military service? I wonder how you feel if the protestors killed them ...

    by: Spongebob2007
    April 26, 2012 3:39 PM
    Let me guess, the Rebels are denying any involvement?! They were peacefully protesting when the goverment blew up the building in order to frame them. Does anybody really cared about the civilians here? The only way to accomplish this is for BOTH parties (assuming the Rebels are just one party!) putting down their weapons and begin talking to one other. With no pre-conditions or regime change demands as a pre-requisite!

    by: Martin
    April 26, 2012 2:24 PM
    To that ignorant SOB. That thinks the world should let the Syrian government kill the people. (thugs) as he called it. He should go and take a vacation in Syria, and see what the truth really is.

    by: MJ
    April 26, 2012 9:26 AM
    I think the UN needs to step away and let the syrian government get red of all these thugs and terrorists, enough is enough. I am sick of hearing about democracy, this is not the way for civil socaity. No one should have weapon but the regular army and the government if any one does not like that get the hell out of syria and go some where alse

    by: Spongebob2007
    April 26, 2012 8:56 AM
    The solution is simple. The REBELS need to back-off on their pre-condition DEMANDS that all solutions are based on Assad and his Shiite goverment stepping down from power and relinquishing control of the country to them.

    by: sam
    April 26, 2012 6:25 AM
    why da hell would they do that

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora