News / Middle East

US Condemns Attack on Pro-Assad Syrian TV Station

Debris from damaged buildings after gunmen stormed the headquarters of Al-Ikhbariya news channel near Damascus, June 27, 2012, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.Debris from damaged buildings after gunmen stormed the headquarters of Al-Ikhbariya news channel near Damascus, June 27, 2012, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
x
Debris from damaged buildings after gunmen stormed the headquarters of Al-Ikhbariya news channel near Damascus, June 27, 2012, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Debris from damaged buildings after gunmen stormed the headquarters of Al-Ikhbariya news channel near Damascus, June 27, 2012, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
VOA News
The United States has condemned a deadly attack by gunmen on a Syrian pro-government television station and said it hopes an upcoming meeting of world powers in Geneva will be a turning point in resolving Syria's 15-month conflict.

Militants attacked the headquarters of the al-Ikbariya satellite channel near Damascus with guns and bombs before dawn Wednesday, killing three journalists and four security guards. The station is privately-owned but strongly supports the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It resumed broadcasting shortly after the raid.

The Syrian government blamed the attack on "armed terrorists," a term it uses for rebels trying to end Mr. Assad's 11-year rule. But, Syrian rebel commanders denied responsibility and said a unit of the elite Republican Guard had defected and attacked the station.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that Washington "condemns all acts of violence including those targeting pro-regime elements." He called on all parties in the conflict to "cease acts of hostility."

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighting across Syria on Wednesday killed at least 80 people, more than half of them civilians. Activists have said the death toll in the conflict has jumped to around 100 people a day in the past week because of escalating attacks by heavily-armed security forces and lightly-armed rebels.

Carney said Syria's "dire" situation is a result of Mr. Assad trying to "cling on to power at all costs."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed "great hope" that a meeting of world powers to be held in Geneva on Saturday will be a "turning point" in efforts to get international agreement on a plan "that will lead Syrians to a better future." She was speaking on a visit to Finland.

International peace envoy Kofi Annan called the high-level meeting, saying the "Syria Action Group" will attempt to agree on principles for a "Syrian-led political transition." He sent invitations to ministers of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council as well as to representatives of the Arab League and Turkey.

Two major regional players were not invited: Iran, a major ally of Mr. Assad, and Saudi Arabia, a prominent supporter of his enemies. The United States had objected to any Iranian participation in a meeting on Syria's future, saying Tehran could not play a constructive role while helping the Syrian president to crush his opponents.

Mr. Annan had wanted to include Iran in the Geneva meeting and gave no explanation for excluding it. But U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Mr. Annan will brief the Iranian government about the outcome of the talks because the envoy believes Tehran should be "part of the solution."

Russia, another longtime ally of the Assad government, also had called for Iran to be included in the Syria Action Group.

  • 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
Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee reacted to the Geneva snub by saying "nobody can ignore ... the influence and constructive role that Iran has in the region." He also reiterated Iran's support for Mr. Annan's Syria peace plan that calls for an end to fighting and the start of a dialogue but has been ignored by Syria's warring sides.

In another development, U.N. investigators accused President Assad's forces of committing rights violations on "an alarming scale." In a report published Wednesday, the U.N. panel investigating human rights violations in Syria also said the situation is "dangerously and quickly deteriorating."

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

Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Faisal Khabbaz Hamoui, rejected the panel's accusations against his government and warned that Damascus will end its cooperation with international agencies.

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

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: john from: Lagos
June 28, 2012 7:04 AM
It stops short at only condemning the terrorist act

by: Chas from: Missouri
June 27, 2012 11:53 PM
"US condemns attack on pro Assad TV station." When does the impostor president act? Maybe he can community organize inside Syria to attempt to take out the oppressive regime. If this were happening in Chicago, he would act, but he is busy courting votes in Colorado, er supporting the fire fighting efforts. If it were not in play he would be elsewhere for sure.

by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
June 27, 2012 11:09 PM
I hope someone believe that the U.S. condemnation of the pro-Assad TV station is sincere. I don't believe it, and that is a compliment. Assad's TV propaganda machine will just prolong his ouster, and increase the bloodshed. His Minister of Information told reporters that "the rebels destroyed the TV to stifle Free Speech!"

The Assad's Dynasty muffled "free speech" in Syria for 40 years,
and the TV destruction by the rebels now was justified as a
liberation act. The destruction of a tyrant's supporting organs by a revolution is legitimate under the democratic principles.. Nikos Retsos, retired professor
In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Plain Planet
June 29, 2012 7:00 AM
The simple truth is that you do not understand the language of politics and the games to rule. Obama is happy in everything that the rebels do in Syria. He is investing in the hands of the rebels by providing them with supports. He does this for the whole interest of Americans. American economy has been predicted to fall even earlier than expected. So he puts problems in Arab world in disguise for democracy, putting his loyalists in order to sysytematically intrude into the would be new regime's economy. This is just a check to balance the sinking America economy. be informed please!

by: Garth Banks from: Falmouth
June 27, 2012 11:03 PM
I wonder if the USA has a financial interest in the TV station or if it is a source of intelligence. Their attitude seems a little strange unless they are afraid of reprisals on their TV stations.

by: jerry from: Oregon
June 27, 2012 10:55 PM
I know that harsh language worked on me. When I was five years old

by: Anonymous
June 27, 2012 10:44 PM

At a time when America’s Arab allies are reportedly funneling cash and rifles to Syrian rebels, the United States itself has—at least publicly—stayed on the sidelines.

The Syrian Support Group is hoping to change this. The U.S.-based organization has spent the past couple of weeks banging on the doors of congressmen, government agencies, and think tanks, making the case that arming Syria’s rebels in order to oust President Bashar al-Assad is a sound strategic investment. The SSG’s website calls the Free Syrian Army—the main opposition group comprised of 10 regional militias and military defectors—a “group of Heroes” and accepts donations via PayPal. The group says it has received donations from 59 people, in amounts no larger than $5,000, since launching in December.

by: Anonymous
June 27, 2012 10:23 PM

WASHINGTON — A small number of CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, US officials and Arab intelligence officers said. The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition, and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, the officials said.

The CIA officers have been in southern Turkey for several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior US official said. The Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs