News / Middle East

    Syria Retakes Homs Gas Field from Hardline Group

    A Civil Defense member looks for survivors at a site hit by what activists said were two barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, July 27, 2014.
    A Civil Defense member looks for survivors at a site hit by what activists said were two barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, July 27, 2014.
    VOA News

    Syrian army said on Sunday it recaptured a gas field east of the central city of Homs that was seized by hardline Islamic State fighters earlier this month.

    Syrian television showed footage of soldiers running and deploying in a vast desert area which it said was the Sha'ar gas field.

    The army said in a statement it retook the field after a “precise operation in which dozens of terrorists were killed.”

    However, a source from the Islamic State said the fighters pulled out after destroying the field's equipment and capturing at least 15 tanks and dozens of rockets which were used to guard the field.

    “We pulled out because it was no longer good for us to stay. The goal was to get the tanks and rockets present at the field and we did,” he said. “There is no point in staying there and become an easy target for the regime and its warplanes.”

    Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, has advanced in Syria and taken over swaths of territory in neighboring Iraq in what it has described as a bid to establish an Islamic caliphate.

    At least 1,100 soldiers and pro-Assad fighters have been killed since the Islamic State intensified its attacks against government forces this month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    During the assault on the field, the Islamic State fighters killed at least 270 soldiers, guards and staff and also killed at least 85 soldiers when they captured an army base in the province of Raqaa on Friday, the Observatory said.

    The fighters said they decapitated most of the soldiers and hung several heads outside the base gates.

    Elsewhere, Syria and a human rights monitoring group also said that seven people were killed Sunday in a car bomb in the central city of Homs.

    The state news agency SANA said the vehicle targeted the Arman neighborhood, home to mostly minority Christians and Alawites, the sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    The Arman neighborhood has been repeatedly hit by car bombs during more than three years of fighting in Syria that have killed more than 170,000 people and forced nearly half the population to flee their homes.
     
    Insurgents are trying to oust the Syrian leader, but the warfare has turned chaotic with sectarian overtones, as rebel groups fight each other for control of regional sectors in the country.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora