News

    Multiple Blasts Rock Northern Syrian Town

    Syrian activists say a double bomb attack near security buildings in the northwestern town of Idlib has killed at least 20 people, as a bombing campaign against Syrian government targets intensifies.

    A separate grenade attack Monday struck the Syrian Central Bank in Damascus, wounding four security officers.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack in Idlib targeted intelligence offices used by the Syrian army and air force. Syria's state news agency said suicide bombers triggered the blasts and it gave a lower death toll of at least nine, with another 100 people wounded, including security personnel and civilians.

    Casualties could not be independently confirmed.

    Syrian state television broadcast the aftermath of the Idlib attack, showing smashed cars, damaged buildings and mangled bodies.

    Syrian state television blamed what it called “terrorists” for Monday's attack, and state-run media gave a lower death toll of at least nine with another 100 people wounded, including security personnel and civilians. Casualties could not be independently confirmed.

    Speaking to Alhurra TV, General Mustafa al-Sheikh, a senior member of the opposition Free Syrian Army, alleged the Syrian government itself was behind Monday's blasts, as well as a Friday bombing in Damascus.

    "The explosions are clearly the work of the Syrian government, because the government is trying to convince the West that it is fighting against terrorism," he said. "The government wants to convince U.N. observers that it is impossible to withdraw troops from urban areas or allow demonstrations because it is facing terrorists and al-Qaida."

    Syrian TV reported that members of the U.N. observer team visited the Idlib blast sites. Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the head of the observer team was “being briefed on armed violations” of the 18-day old U.N. cease-fire.

    The Syrian government and rebels accepted a U.N.-backed truce agreement, part of a peace plan mediated by international envoy Kofi Annan, that took effect on April 12. But forces loyal to Assad have continued assaulting opposition hubs while rebel fighters have repeatedly ambushed government security personnel. Each side accuses the other of provoking attacks.

    Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami of the Hoover Institution said recent U.N. diplomacy and a cease-fire brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan appear to be working in favor of Syria's government.

    "I think [Syrian President Assad] has had a good fortnight. He believes that diplomacy has made this revolution, this rebellion, a murky affair," said Ajami. "I think he believes that the moral clarity of this rebellion has been lost, and he believes that [world] powers will not come to the rescue."

    But, Ajami added, it is impossible to determine who is winning the conflict.

    "The basics have not really changed," he said. "The regime is running out of money, the regime is running out of resources; it's betting that the rebellion would be running out of stamina. And the great standoff still persists."

    Syrian state media also reported grenade attacks Monday on the Syrian Central Bank and a police patrol in Damascus. It said four officers were wounded and the bank sustained light damage.

    Elsewhere, Lebanese security officials said several skiers were fired on from the Syrian side of the mountainous border. One Lebanese skier was wounded. Syrian troops previously have fired across the border on suspicion of rebel activity.

    The U.N. estimates that at least 9,000 people have been killed since Assad began cracking down on the uprising in March 2011.

     

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


    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.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: AbuAbdAllah_Muhammad_IbnMusa
    May 01, 2012 4:11 AM
    That's it, give them more false hope, the stupid believers that they are.

    by: Spongebob
    April 30, 2012 7:05 AM
    I can understand how terrorist bombings, suprise ambushes, and assasination of officials might provoke the military into further action. But can someone explain what provoke this type of "terrorist" activity? Perhaps once we understand this we might also understand what caused 9-11 a bit better ...

    by: Syrian
    April 30, 2012 6:47 AM
    All these blasts are done by the Syrian government to justify suppressing its own people

    by: Terrorist Hunter
    April 30, 2012 6:03 AM
    There is no doubt that it is the tactic of terrorists. They may have been trained by Nato special forces operating inside Syria.

    by: Marry
    April 30, 2012 2:46 AM
    As long as the Syrian army maintains it is cohesion and supported by their friends Russia and China and the thugs have no real power on the ground NATO for sure will not intervene in Syria

    by: Christ
    April 30, 2012 2:43 AM
    Prince of Qatar and the president of Tunisia were very sure that the prospect of success of the peace plan is 3%. I would like to add it is 0% as long as they keep sending weapons from Libya to the criminals in Syria through Lebanon . Media must be unbiased and stop saying forces loyal to Assad it is the Syrian army whether you like it or not .

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.