News / Middle East

Syrian Forces Kill 25; Government Accused of Targeting Doctors

Syrians living in Jordan hold Syrian and the Kingdom of Libya flags shout slogans against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a protest outside the United Nations office in Amman October 15, 2011.
Syrians living in Jordan hold Syrian and the Kingdom of Libya flags shout slogans against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a protest outside the United Nations office in Amman October 15, 2011.

Syrian security forces killed at least 25 people Monday when they attacked the opposition stronghold of Homs, while activists accused the government of intensifying its persecution of doctors who treat wounded protesters.

Residents and activists say tanks firing heavy machine guns swept into Sunni Muslim districts of Homs, where large protests demanding the removal of President Bashar al-Assad have taken place regularly.

Monday's clashes followed the deployment of loyalist militiamen into Sunni districts, fanning tension between the city's Sunni majority and members of Mr. Assad's minority Alawite sect.

Army deserters helping local inhabitants defend their neighborhoods are said to have killed five government troops in the clashes. Battles between soldiers and defectors have been increasing in the province, as authorities press a harsh crackdown on political opposition to Mr. Assad.

In Switzerland Monday, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urged the Syrian president to end the killing of civilians and accept an international inquiry into allegations of human rights abuses. The U.N. says more than 3,000 people have been killed in Syria since anti-government protests began seven months ago.

The Local Coordination Committees, a major Syrian activist network that helps organize the protests, said it has documented the arrests of 25 doctors from private clinics and hospitals in the past few weeks.

The group said 250 doctors and pharmacists have been detained since the uprising began.

Last month, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Syrian security forces "forcibly removed" patients from a hospital and prevented doctors from reaching the wounded during a military siege in Homs. The group cited testimony from witnesses, including doctors.

The Arab League said Sunday it would bring together Syria's government and opposition groups in an attempt to end the violence. The league's secretary-general, Nabil Elaraby, said the group plans to start the dialogue within 15 days.

Some league members sought to suspend Syria's membership in the pan-Arab organization, but deep divisions among the group's 22 members prevented passage of the proposal.

The Arab League suspended Libya earlier this year after then-leader Moammar Gadhafi began a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters. The league later reinstated Libya under the country's new leadership.

In Syria Sunday, activists said security forces in the east opened fire on mourners as about 7,000 people attending the funeral of a slain activist with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. They also said government forces continued arrests near the capital, Damascus.

Syrian authorities have blamed much of the country's violence on gunmen or what they call terrorist groups.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs