News / Middle East

Syrian Bombings Force Villagers to Flee

Syrian Bombings Force Villagers to Fleei
|| 0:00:00
X
Scott Bobb
August 22, 2012 5:36 PM
Stretched to defend several fronts on the ground, Syrian government forces have intensified air attacks on northern towns and villages controlled by rebels of the Free Syrian Army. Bombings and artillery barrages have killed hundreds of people and emptied some places of most of their inhabitants. VOA's Scott Bobb visited several hard-hit areas and filed this report.
Scott Bobb
TAL RIFAT, Syria — Stretched to defend several fronts on the ground, Syrian government forces have intensified air attacks on northern towns and villages controlled by rebels of the Free Syrian Army. Bombings and artillery barrages have killed hundreds of people and emptied some places of most of their inhabitants.

In Marea, a town in northern Syria about 40 kilometers from Aleppo, a family clears up what remains of their home after a government warplane bombed it on August 21 killing one person and wounding eight others.

Salah, a produce merchant, says his family of eight now must leave Marea like thousands of people before them. He does not understand why troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are doing this.

"There's no reason. Just to show their power, to defy the people, to kill the people," he said.

Neighbor Walid helped rescue a man trapped underneath this roof.

"He was asleep with his children," Walid recalled.  "Bashar al-Assad is a killer."

The man survived, but his lower body was crushed. He was taken to a hospital in Turkey. He will not be back soon.

Nearby Tal Rifat is virtually a ghost town. Of its 40,000 residents only 2,000 remain, mostly young men who stay to guard against looters.

Residents think the Syrian government was targeting a school. It has been hit twice in two weeks. They say perhaps the government thinks rebels of the Free Syrian Army are sheltering here.

Abu Ala runs a small store and is trying to get his degree in computer engineering. He says everything has stopped since the Syrian uprising began nearly 18 months ago.

"The situation in Tal Rifat is very bad, especially the human and economic situation," Ala said.  "There is no food. The shops are empty. And every night we look for the MiGs [warplanes] to shell us."

Rebel leaders say the Syrian government has withdrawn ground troops from these towns in order to defend the major cities. So they bomb from the air.

The Syrian government says it is defending itself against terrorists who are seizing villages. The air attacks increased after Western leaders decided not to establish a no-fly zone. Residents say the Syrian government may have concluded that this gave it license to bomb with impunity.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid