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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs