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.
    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

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    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.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.