News

    Syrian Forces Raid Aleppo University; 4 Killed

    Syrian rebels stand in the Khalidiya district of the central Syrian city of Homs, May 3, 2012.
    Syrian rebels stand in the Khalidiya district of the central Syrian city of Homs, May 3, 2012.

    Syrian security forces stormed a protest march and killed four people at Aleppo University early Thursday. The U.S. condemned the incident and accused President Bashar al-Assad of making "no effort" to honor a three-week-old U.N.-brokered truce.

    Amateur video showed about 1,500 students in the northern city of Aleppo chanting against the Assad family's four-decade-long rule being drowned out by gunfire. Pro-government students armed with knives attacked the crowd before security forces swept in, firing tear gas and live ammunition.

    Student activists said raids on dormitories and intermittent gunfire continued for about five hours. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 28 students were wounded overnight, three critically. Another 200 were arrested.

    Watch related video

    Aleppo is a major Syrian commercial hub that has remained largely loyal to Mr. Assad. But university students, many from rebellious areas, such as Homs and Idlib provinces, have been staging almost daily protests calling for his ouster.

    In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted the peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan may have failed. "If the regime's intransigence continues," he said, "the international community [will] have to admit defeat," adding that political transition is "urgently needed" in Syria.

    Meanwhile, the head of the United Nations monitoring mission dispatched to Syria under the plan said pro-Assad forces must make the first move to end 14 months of bloodshed.

    Major-General Robert Mood made the call while visiting Syria's third-largest city - Homs - which has seen some of the deadliest fighting of the conflict. He said his approach is that "the strongest party needs to make the first move."

    The veteran Norwegian peacekeeper said the mission is growing steadily, with a total of 50 monitors in the country - a number he said would double within weeks.

    Several dozen U.N. observers visited flashpoint areas Thursday. They are assessing government and rebel compliance with the Annan cease-fire plan.

    VOA's Middle East correspondent Elizabeth Arrott toured Hama and Homs with U.N. observers Thursday and saw scenes of widespread destruction.

    "There is a corridor north of Damascus between Homs and Hama that has been very, very hard hit by the fighting and the unrest," she said. "And it's very clear. For example, in one town, the outskirts of Arasa which is still very much a flashpoint town, on the northern side of the town, every house has holes blasted through them. In Homs, you see holes in the houses, windows blasted out, widespread destruction in the whole area."

    Mood told reporters he hopes the observers' presence will have a "calming effect" to end the violence and put negotiations on a political track.

    Monitors reported earlier that the Syrian military had heavy weapons stationed in some cities. The U.N. team said both the government and opposition have violated terms of the peace plan.

    The United Nations estimates at least 9,000 people have been killed in the crackdown, while the government says it has lost at least 2,600 of its forces to "foreign-backed terrorists."

    Despite the turmoil, Syria plans to hold a parliamentary election on Monday under a new constitution which has allowed the creation of new political parties. The opposition dismisses the vote as a sham.

    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: stan0301
    May 03, 2012 4:58 AM
    If we send it a Predator to take out Assad possibly eight or ten people will die. Every day we wait that many will die anyway--lets end this, and say that no man has a right to do wrong (Lincoln said that). There are things that no nation should stand idly by and watch. Had not France come to our aid there is absolute no chance we could have won our own war of independence.

    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