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.


     

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    by: Anonymous
    August 07, 2012 8:50 PM
    Afgan Mujahideen were freedom fighters.... Chechens were nice rebels...

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 07, 2012 1:53 PM
    Still talking tough? Why not when Iran goes to show solidarity. Russia and China are busing vetoing resolutions to move forward. The Arab League becomes confused what it wants - is anyone worried about this, after all it has only been a toothless bulldog. Assad might be mad, but I think he needs time to transit his government, after all Syria's arab spring is not going to be any different from the others - return to stone-age barbarism. I only pray that another Morsi, Nasrallah or the man in Gaza be not born from the emerging Syria that Clinton is asking for. Otherwise.... By the way Obama has been very silent over the Middle East for so long. Is that for a healthy reason?

    by: vonrik from: manchester CT
    August 07, 2012 1:17 PM
    Again..I think we all need to step away from this madness. Russia and China are right...let the people of that country do what is right for them and not feed arms and talk of change. As an American I see this as a foolish game of us walking.and talking. A game we always fall to the center of the web of the zoinist. A web that we are force to drink it poison and pay so dearly in the end...

    by: Tara from: USA
    August 07, 2012 12:50 PM
    The moniker "axis of resistance" makes me giggle every time I read it. I would prefer to call it the "axis of thinks they're badasses" or something to that effect!
    In Response

    by: Stephen from: USA
    August 07, 2012 3:16 PM
    axis of "we need to hold on to power or we're all going to end up in a jail"

    by: tabreez from: cyprus
    August 07, 2012 12:44 PM
    After Iraq, afghanistan & libya..... syria is on the list, the detterance for Israel is diminishing, by all this pre planned so called revolution for democracy only devastation, innocent massacre get promoted.....,

    by: Americans Know better from: USA
    August 07, 2012 12:07 PM
    "Iran's democratically elected administration" 1, Iran is not a democracy it is a "Muslim Theocracy", 2, the true political power in the country belongs to the "Supreme" Leader not the people, 3, only men approved by Iran's religios leadership may run for office.

    What other "hostages" as the Free Syrian Army taken?
    In Response

    by: Spongebob2007 from: Edmonton, Canada
    August 08, 2012 11:39 AM
    Yes, everyone has flaws. Except when it comes to Romney pointing fingers and spinning the truth at Obama, or Obama pointing fingers and spinning the truth at Bush, and so on, while everyone knows they are actually woraking for the same group of elite and powerful behind the scenes, wow that is rough propoganda. But when countries like the US, France, England, even Canada, start using these same propoganda and truth spinning fabrication techniques against 3rd world and certain middle (not all, only the ones that are don't play by their rules) eastern countries to convince the world to support their geopolitical and economic crusades, someone needs to say "who put you in charge of deciding which goverments are legitimate, and which ones aren't?".
    In Response

    by: Spongebob2007@hotmail.com from: Edmonton, Canada
    August 07, 2012 5:44 PM
    How about the 12 Lebanese "hostages" they took only a few months ago? Or how about all the recent christian civilians claims that they are being abducted and tortured by the FSA members - of course who can believe a Christian right? Ring any bells for you?
    In Response

    by: kw from: USA
    August 07, 2012 3:29 PM
    Hey Mr Spongebob, America's democracy may have its flaws, but comparing Iran to USA in terms of elections, etc is comparing apples to oranges. Not even close. Nice try.
    In Response

    by: Spongebob2007 from: Edmonton, Canada
    August 07, 2012 1:20 PM
    Yes, similar to the US's version of democracy, the Iran government is not really an elected administration. The true political powers in both country's are actually a handful of much more rich and powerful men, sitting behind the scenes playing puppet-master with who actually runs for office, and any decisions they make when they are in power.

    by: Richard from: USA
    August 07, 2012 10:03 AM
    Iran has demonstrated that it does not see a difference between the truth and lies. Therefore anything Iran says is not believable. Moreover, Iran has a despicable government whose leaders murder their own people.
    In Response

    by: rod from: usa
    August 08, 2012 8:53 PM
    KW, U and people like you are the problem with the U.S.. You actually believe that we have honest fare elections, when we do not. You pretend that are Nation is not lead by the rich and that the news is not controlled by Washington, I bet you think we still have all are guaranteed civil rights and that the U.S did not kidnap people around the world and torture them in secret jails in foreign nations. bet you believe everything Washington tells you and that Muhammad was not born from the reckless actions of Christians during the crusades killing everyone different, and we had to really kill women for being witches lol you are the reason America has lost its moral values and its Government for the people by the people.

    by: Kafantaris from: Ohio
    August 07, 2012 9:29 AM
    "Kidnapping innocent people is not acceptable anywhere."
    This from a regime that held 52 Americans hostage in Tehran, Iran, from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981.
    In Response

    by: Spongebob2007 from: Edmonton, Canada
    August 07, 2012 1:24 PM
    Yes, Iran should not be making comments as they were guilty of the same crime.
    Similarly, the US should not be commenting on Iran's nuclear ambitions, for peaceful or weapons. Remember when they killedd 140,000 innocent civilians in Hiroshima, and another 40,000 in Nagasaki?
    In Response

    by: Tara from: USA
    August 07, 2012 12:46 PM
    Furthermore, why would Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, care about 48 "kidnapped" pilgrims unless they were, in fact, as you mentioned, not pilgrims, or were bait for a brawl?
    In Response

    by: Mark from: Denver
    August 07, 2012 11:56 AM
    LOL, "innocent people" what would "muslim pilgerims" be doing in a war torn country during Ramadon? Why wouldn't these pigrims go to Mecca or Jarusalem? The Free Syrian Army believes these men, are members of Iran's Elite Republican Guard. Obviously the US tipped them off so that they were captured. The point is 1, suspicious to make a pigrimage to a war torn country, and 2. the Syrian Free Army hasn't taken any one else as hostage during the 17 month revolution. So do you believe Iran or the Free Syrian Army?

    by: Walt from: Two Rivers
    August 07, 2012 8:42 AM
    Fighting in Syria has been ongoing for over a year throughout the country.
    U.S. as well as the world attempted to get the useless and corrupt U.N. involved in hopes of preventing this from becoming a civil war. Iran, China and Russia consistently voted no and allowed the problem to intensify.
    Iran would like the world to believe they allowed innocent citizens to make a religious trip to a war zone.
    It's more plausible that members of the Iranian military have been captured.

    by: Baber Zaidi from: USA
    August 07, 2012 8:33 AM
    Damascus is one of the holiest sites for shities all over the globe - not just Iranians. Kidnapping and killings shities is being done in that region - Pakistan/ Iraq/Iran and now in Syria by Talibans a.ka. Al-Qaida thugs (Wahabis). Ofcourse kiddnapping/killing innocent civilians is a trade mark of terrorists - Al-Qaida. America is doing a great harm to their credibility by supporting these thugs, at the end this will come and haunt them as it did in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.
    In Response

    by: Aritra from: India
    August 07, 2012 11:19 AM
    Damascus is one of the holiest sites for Eastern Orthodox Christians too. But please, feel free to overlook that.
    However I do agree that the "rebellion" is nothing but the bearded screeching mob.
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