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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs