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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 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 Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    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.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.