News / Middle East

Syria Launches Offensive Near Airport, Cuts Internet Access

An Ottoman-era building damaged by an air strike at a besieged area in Homs, November 28, 2012.
An Ottoman-era building damaged by an air strike at a besieged area in Homs, November 28, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Syrian forces launched a major offensive in Damascus near the country's international airport Thursday, and the government shut down Internet access across the country and slashed cell phone services in selected areas. 
 
The army attacked rebel strongholds in a string of towns along the airport road. A rebel fighter said insurgents were not inside the airport but were able to block access to it.
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the heaviest clashes erupted between troops and rebels in the towns of Babila and Hujaira, southeast of the capital, and in Harran al-Awamid, just east of the airport.
 
The fighting, which came after Internet links went down, caused EgyptAir and Emirates airline, based in Dubai, to suspend flights to Damascus. 
 
The wholescale Internet blackout, confirmed by two U.S.-based companies that monitor online connectivity, is unprecedented in the 20-month-long uprising against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Authorities often cut phone lines and Internet access in areas where government forces are conducting major military operations.
 
A pro-government television station quoted Syria's minister of information as saying "terrorists," not state agents, were responsible for the countrywide outage.
 
The British-based Observatory said rebel units launched a new offensive in the country's north, trying to take a military base near the main highway to Syria's commercial capital of Aleppo. The Observatory said rebel forces in Idlib province began moving on Wadi al-Deif early Thursday.
 
Opposition activists have been voicing increasing optimism that rebel forces are making gains and maintaining their positions against government forces. Some point to recent successful attacks against government warplanes and helicopters as evidence the conflict's momentum may be shifting. 
 
There are also renewed allegations that Syrian rebels are using child soldiers in their efforts to overthrow the Assad government. 
 
Human Rights Watch said children as young as 14 have served in rebel brigades, acting as lookouts and transporting weaponry. The human rights organization said some have even taken part in combat.

  • A view of buildings damaged by what activists said were missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet, Daria, Syria, November 30, 2012.
  • Demonstrators hold a placard that reads "Victory sign over the palace," during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in Binsh, November 30, 2012.
  • People walk along a row of barb wire near the border with Syria, Sanliurfa province, Turkey, November 30, 2012.
  • Youths sit next to a row of barbed wire near the Syrian border, Sanliurfa province, Turkey, November 30, 2012.
  • An Ottoman-era building damaged by an air strike in a besieged area in Homs, Syria, November 28, 2012.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter with an amputated hand, takes cover from a sniper loyal to Syria's President Bashar al -Assad, near Aleppo's historic citadel, November 28, 2012.
  • This image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News shows smoke after a building was struck in a warplane attack in Homs, Syria, November 28, 2012.
  • A man carries parts of a warplane, belonging to forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in Daret Azzah, November 28, 2012.
  • This image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News shows people near a destroyed plane that was shot down by Free Syrian Army fighters in Aleppo, Syria, November 28, 2012.
  • Residents pose near damaged wheat sacks after Syrian Air Force fighter jets fired missiles at the town of Ras al-Ain, Syria, November 26, 2012.
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army and men from the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain unload wheat from trucks, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 26, 2012.
  • Smoke rises from damaged wheat sacks after Syrian Air Force fighter jets fired missiles at the town of Ras al-Ain, Syria, November 26, 2012.
  • Residents walk near debris from damaged buildings after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Daria near Damascus, Syria, November 26, 2012.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in Daria near Damascus, Syria, November 25, 2012.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Major Variola
November 29, 2012 3:03 PM
At least the Brotherhood has MANPADS now.

How's that workin' out for ya?

In Response

by: Anonymous
December 01, 2012 9:27 AM
Air travel will now be more risky thanks to the "friends of Syria".


by: GB from: Florida
November 29, 2012 2:02 PM
How is it that an ottoman era building has reinforcing steel bar in the roof?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid