News / Middle East

    Assad Vows to Rid Syria of 'Terrorists;' Violence Mounts

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, meets with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus,  August 7, 2012.
    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, meets with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, August 7, 2012.
    VOA News
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to purge his country of what he called "terrorists," as security forces continue to fight rebels who have tried to seize control of parts of Aleppo and Damascus.

    Syrian state-run media quoted Mr. Assad Tuesday as saying he would show no leniency towards "terrorists."  He met with Iran's visiting national security council secretary, Saeed Jalili.  

    Syrian state television showed the meeting, the first time Mr. Assad has appeared on television in two weeks.

    Jalili pledged continued Iranian support to Syria, which he said was part of an "axis of resistance" against foreign opponents.

    Earlier Tuesday, Iran said it was holding the United States responsible for the lives of 48 Iranians who were kidnapped by Syrian rebels in Damascus on Saturday.

    State-run media say the Foreign Ministry told the Swiss envoy in Tehran that it expects the U.S. to use its influence to secure the Iranians' release without any preconditions.

    Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran because Washington and Tehran do not have diplomatic relations. The U.S. has said in the past it is only providing non-lethal assistance to Syrian rebels.

    Iran says the 48 abducted were religious pilgrims, but the rebel Free Syrian Army described them as Iranian Revolutionary Guards on a "reconnaissance mission."

    Activists say dozens of people were killed in anti-government-related unrest across Syria on Tuesday. 

    Riyad Hijab is sworn in as new Prime Minister by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) in Damascus in this handout photo distributed by Syrian News Agency, June 26, 2012Riyad Hijab is sworn in as new Prime Minister by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) in Damascus in this handout photo distributed by Syrian News Agency, June 26, 2012
    x
    Riyad Hijab is sworn in as new Prime Minister by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) in Damascus in this handout photo distributed by Syrian News Agency, June 26, 2012
    Riyad Hijab is sworn in as new Prime Minister by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) in Damascus in this handout photo distributed by Syrian News Agency, June 26, 2012
    Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says it is time for world powers to begin planning for what will happen after Mr. Assad's regime falls.  She commented during a Tuesday appearance with South Africa's foreign minister in Pretoria.

    "The intensity of the fighting in Aleppo, the defections, really point out how imperative it is that we come together and work toward a good transition plan," said Clinton.

    Clinton said she intended to discuss the issue with Turkish officials during her visit to Istanbul on Saturday.

    Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, visited Turkey on Tuesday to discuss the Syrian crisis and the abducted Iranians with counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.  Salehi also has asked United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for help in securing the kidnapped Iranians' freedom.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that more than 1,300 Syrians had crossed the border into Turkey over the past day, raising the total number of Syrian refugees there to nearly 48,000.

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

    • A truck catches flames after it was hit by rockets fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter plane during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.
    • A general view shows a street after clashes between Free Syrian Army fighters and forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad, in Salah Edinne district, in the center of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an anti-aircraft gun as a Syrian Air Force fighter bomber fires rockets during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.
    • In this photo taken on guided government tour, Syrian army forces are seen at al-Sijen district, in the center of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.
    • A Syrian man reacts after the funeral of 29 year-old Free Syrian Army fighter, Husain Al-Ali, who was killed during clashes in Aleppo, in the cemetery in town of Marea on the outskirts of Aleppo city, August 9, 2012.
    • Men search for bodies under rubble of a house destroyed by a Syrian Air force air strike, in Tel Rafat, about 37 kilometers north of Aleppo, Syria, August 8, 2012.
    • In this citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network SNN, Syrians attend the funeral procession of a man killed in Idlib province, August 7, 2012.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter runs after a Syrian Army tank shell exploded in the Salah al- Din neighbourhood of central Aleppo, August 5, 2012.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters fire their rifles during clashes with Syrian Army soldiers in the Salah al- Din neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 5, 2012.
    • Free Syrian Army fighter holds a RPG launcher during clashes with Syrian Army in the Salah al- Din neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 5, 2012.
    • This image map provides an overview of the activity seen in Aleppo from July 23, 2012 to August 1, 2012 (base image collected on July 29, 2012).
    • More than 600 probable artillery impact craters, represented here with yellow dots, were identified in Anadan, in the vicinity of Aleppo.
    • In this August 5, 2012 photograph, Syrians pass by a destroyed house in town of Atareb outskirts of Aleppo, Syria.
    • Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover during clashes with Syrian Army soldiers in the Salah al- Din neighborhood of central Aleppo August 5, 2012.
    • Syrian women mourn the loss of loved ones in Aleppo fighting, August 5, 2012.


     

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
        Next 
    by: End_Wage_Slavery from: Belly of the Beast
    August 15, 2012 5:03 PM
    Hopefully when they overthrow the Assad regime they make this a real, thoroughgoing revolution instead of simply regime change. In other words they need to scrap current notions of bourgeois property relations and move toward complete and direct worker ownership of the businesses. Nothing less than worker ownership will guarantee that the workers of Syria will not be exploited. Anything less than that and it isn't a real revolution, just a change of dictators.

    by: Robert George from: Dubai
    August 09, 2012 2:45 AM
    Iran, the only supporter of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the region, seems to have admitted its complicity. For years Iran has been meddling with nations in the Middle East with the sole objective of establishing its hegemony over the entire region and effectively countering the West.

    by: rod from: usa
    August 08, 2012 9:08 PM
    The USA has been planning and influencing the Arab spring and all that has happened since how else do you think these ordinary people can over take and army of high powered weapons and war planes, attack helicopters missiles and so on yea right regular people can bet all the armies in the middle east, without help from the U.S. come on people

    by: Battle0360
    August 08, 2012 4:24 PM
    I aggree with assad on this one he should countinue to try to take syria back these are terriosts that are trying to take over syria these arent peaceful protestors these are violent extremists they excuted 4 half naked men in there underwear for being pro assad resigme members and shot them full of hundreds of rounds of akm ammunition also global extremists are comeing fight in syria and a few of them actually fought against the us military and nato in iraq they call the rebels there brothers that theyve come to help out and also theres signs of alquada with these rebels trying to take over syria that place will be like libya if assads resigme falls libya now sucks every since those people took over libya and syria will to if assads resigme collaspes there iran will prob be next if assad resigme falls...

    by: HUANG ZHOU from: China
    August 08, 2012 12:17 PM
    Stiring up hatred and violence between sects leading to the civil war in Syria and then blaming that war on Syrian president is the dirty work of Clinton and Obama. They are the son and daughter of the bitch.

    by: Anonymous
    August 08, 2012 11:53 AM
    A few thousand civillians and FSA members need to group up and storm Assads palace, so the public can deal with Assad one on one.

    by: Anonymous
    August 08, 2012 11:48 AM
    Terrorists? You mean the civillians of Syria? What is Assad going to do? Kill his entire population? Labelling the civillian population as terrorists is disgusting. Assad and his dad have been terrorising their population for a number of years. If anyone is a terrorist here, it is Assad, and the entire world knows it. Quit the BS talk Assad, you best be preparing for your capture, say your prayers.

    by: beancube
    August 08, 2012 12:20 AM
    If Assad steps down, every single individual of the Syria population will turn to fight those terrorists, but Assad wants himself to be the biggest threat to the Syrian civilian population. Syrians knew that long time ago.

    by: Wayne from: Olympia WA
    August 07, 2012 11:48 PM
    But will anyone be left alive in Syria when Assad has cleansed all the "Terrrorists?

    by: Mr. Jason Alan Ward from: WGC, England
    August 07, 2012 8:55 PM
    What kind of religious precept requires it's adherent pilgrims to visit a civil war zone ?
    I'll tell you...
    Suicide Pilgrims. Just a variation on suicide bombers, but with less risk, and a crafty effort to both use religion in an attempt to rile other Muslims, and inculcate the US.
    Just how low can these people get ?
    Comments page of 3
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora