News / Middle East

Syria Shelling Kills 74, Including Two Journalists

Syrian activists say two foreign journalists were killed Wednesday by government forces shelling the restive central city of Homs, Feb. 22, 2012.
Syrian activists say two foreign journalists were killed Wednesday by government forces shelling the restive central city of Homs, Feb. 22, 2012.

Syrian government troops kept up shelling of the protest-hub city of Homs Wednesday, killing more than 70 people including two Western journalists. The shelling continues 17 days of attacks as the International Committee of the Red Cross tries to organize a humanitarian cease-fire.

Showing what appears to be two bodies shrouded by blankets near a staircase piled with rubble, Syrian opposition activist Khaled Abu Salah describes the barrage that killed Marie Colvin, a prominent American war correspondent working for Britain's Sunday Times newspaper, and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik. Activists said several other journalists were wounded in the attack on a makeshift media center in the rebel-held Baba Amr district of Homs.

Fellow opposition activist Selim Qabbani tells Alhurra TV the make-shift press center where the journalists were working appeared to have been deliberately targeted and that the rest of Baba Amr district was also badly hit.

"Government forces fired 11 rockets, shells and mortar rounds at the apartment being used by the journalists -- the situation in Baba Amr is extremely bad, more than 17 civilians were killed Wednesday," he says, explaining that it was difficult to identify the deceased and that government forces are preventing anyone from fleeing the district to seek refuge.

Other opposition activists charge that Syrian reconnaissance planes have been flying over Baba Amr for several days as part of efforts to locate satellite dishes used by foreign journalists.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says it is investigating whether Syrian forces deliberately targeted the building.

The Syrian government issued a statement saying it was not aware the journalists were in the country. Syrian state media reported that the Information Ministry was "calling on foreign journalists who have entered Syria illegally to regularize their status with the government."

Syria does not permit foreign journalists to travel freely and has kept most of them out.

A number of international leaders expressed outrage over the killings, including French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who said it is “time for the Syrian regime to go." His comments come ahead of an international gathering in Tunisia on the conflict in Syria.

Political scientist Khattar Abou Diab, a professor of international relations at L’Universite Paris-Sud, says the international community has lost patience with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after witnessing the brutality of his forces. The killing of foreign journalists, he adds, highlights the greater drama being lived out by Syrian people, who, according to some estimates, have suffered nearly 7,500 deaths, thousands of wounded, and the devastation of several cities during the government's crackdown on dissent.

The French foreign ministry, he says, is demanding that Syria allow free access to the wounded in Homs so that they can be treated.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs