News / Middle East

Gunmen Attack Pro-Assad Syrian TV Station

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA, a damaged equipment storage room of the Ikhbariya TV station is seen after it was attacked by gunmen in the town of Drousha, south of Damascus, June 27, 2012.
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA, a damaged equipment storage room of the Ikhbariya TV station is seen after it was attacked by gunmen in the town of Drousha, south of Damascus, June 27, 2012.
VOA News
Syria says rebel gunmen have stormed the headquarters of a pro-government television station, killing seven employees, while international envoy Kofi Annan announced a ministerial-level meeting later this week in Geneva that aims to end the escalating violence.

Wednesday's developments came as United Nations investigators accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of committing rights violations on "an alarming scale."

The pre-dawn attack on the al-Ikbariya satellite channel near Damascus killed three journalists and four security guards. The station - which resumed broadcasting shortly after the raid - is privately-owned but strongly supports Mr. Assad's government.

Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said the explosives that destroyed a number of the broadcaster's studios had been planted by "armed terrorists" - the term the government uses for rebels. Anti-government fighters denied carrying out the attack. They said a unit of the elite Syrian Republican Guard assigned to guard the station had defected and attacked other government soldiers.

  • A damaged building of al-Ikbariya TV is seen after it was attacked by gunmen, in the town of Drousha, about 20 kilometers (14 miles) south of Damascus, June 27, 2012. (photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA)
  • Damaged equipment at the site of an attack on the pro-government al-Ikbariya satellite television channel's offices outside Damascus
  • A Syrian man stands inside a burnt room of al-Ikbariya TV station in Drousha (photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA)
  • Damaged control room of al-Ikbariya TV station (photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA)
  • A damaged equipment storage room of the Ikhbariya TV station after it was attacked by gunmen in Drousha (photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA)
  • Damaged buildings after gunmen stormed the headquarters of al-Ikbariya

Activists say more than 14,000 people have been killed since the revolt against Mr. Assad's government broke out in March of last year and that the death toll has increased sharply during the past few weeks.

Annan, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, said Saturday's "action group" meeting would attempt to agree on principles for a "Syrian-led political transition." He said the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council had been invited as well as representatives of the Arab League and Turkey.

Major regional players such as Iran - an important Syrian ally - and Saudi Arabia were conspicuously omitted. The United States has strongly objected to Tehran's participation, asserting it has facilitated Mr. Assad's brutal repression during the nearly 16-month-old conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have said they would attend.

Meanwhile, a United Nations panel investigating human rights violations in Syria said the situation is "dangerously and quickly deteriorating" and that fighting has "escalated dramatically" since an April cease-fire deal.

The investigators said they were unable to conclusively determine who was responsible for a May 25 attack on the central town of Houla, which killed 108 people, but it considers the possibility that pro-government forces "may have been responsible for many of the deaths."

The panel's Brazilian chairman, Paulo Pinheiro, said "gross human rights violations" - including torture and summary executions - are regularly committed by both sides.

The commission highlighted the plight of children caught in the conflict and the use of sexual violence against men, women and children, particularly by pro-government forces. Pinheiro said his team is especially concerned about reports of the opposition using children as medical porters and messengers, and exposing them to the risk of death and injury.

In a 20-page report, U.N. investigators warned that the killings are increasingly driven by sectarian, not political, motives.

Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Faisal Khabbaz Hamoui, dismissed the accusations against the government and warned Damascus would end its cooperation with international agencies. He then walked out of the council chamber.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: kanaikaal irumporai
June 27, 2012 6:31 PM
So, by going after a civilian target and killing some unarmed person and attacking a media site, these people have committed terrorist acts. Then it would be question as to how the US and other western powers continue to back such outfits that engage in terror, and why the US is silent about listing the "Free Syrian Army" on their list of foreign terorist organizations. Or, may be it's the US and it's allies that, if attacked in similar way, can call somebody terrorist and not the others! Here it becomes very clear that the whole issue is not about serving justice to the people to th Syrian people who have suffered under two geenerations of Assads with support of the big powers, but merely unseating a regime that's no longer useful for the west.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs