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 Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid