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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora