News / Middle East

    Syrian Fighting Intensifies, Rebels Expect Weapons

    In this Sunday, July 7, 2013, citizen journalism image, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, black smoke rises from buildings damaged by Syrian government airstrikes and shelling in Homs.
    In this Sunday, July 7, 2013, citizen journalism image, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, black smoke rises from buildings damaged by Syrian government airstrikes and shelling in Homs.
    VOA News
    Syrian government troops heavily shelled key districts in the strategic city of Homs Monday, battling opposition forces for a 10th straight day in an apparent attempt to divide the rebel-held north and forge a safe zone between the capital and the Mediterranean coast.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Bab Hood and al-Safsafa districts were hit with heavy artillery, mortar bombs and tank fire. It did not give casualty figures, which are hard to confirm due to media and security restrictions.

    Also Monday, the newly elected head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Jarba, told Reuters news agency he expects advanced weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to reach rebel fighters soon, strengthening their military position.

    Jarba, who has close links to Saudi Arabia, said the opposition would not go to a proposed peace conference in Geneva sponsored by the United States and Russia unless its military fortunes improve.

    Russian foreign ministry officials said Jarba's comments raise questions about his dedication to a political solution for the conflict and urged the group to attend the hoped-for peace conference.

    Homs is located at a strategic crossroads linking Damascus with army bases in coastal regions controlled by President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that has dominated majority Sunni Syria for decades.

    A Syrian government official said the army had taken control of the city's contested Khaldiyeh district. Activists denied the claim but said Homs was seeing the fiercest fighting since the uprising against President Assad began in March 2011.

    Video uploaded by activist groups in Homs showed massive destruction in areas around the city's 13th-century Khalid Ibn Al-Walid mosque along with heavy shelling uninterrupted for minutes at a time.

    In Damascus, Syria's ruling Baath party announced Monday it had replaced its top leadership team, including Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa. He remains vice president despite his removal from the party leadership.

    Syria's state-run television said the new Baath party command, which is the party's top decision-making body, was chosen during a meeting of the party's central committee.

    Assad remains the party's secretary-general. Syria's Baath party has ruled the country since 1963.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora