News / Middle East

12 Killed in Syria; International Community Denounces Violence

This image made from amateur video released by Deir el-Zour Press news and accessed via The Associated Press Television News, shows Syrian tanks on the street in Deir el-Zour, Syria, August 9, 2011
This image made from amateur video released by Deir el-Zour Press news and accessed via The Associated Press Television News, shows Syrian tanks on the street in Deir el-Zour, Syria, August 9, 2011

At least 12 people were killed in Syria on Wednesday as the government widened its crackdown, in spite of mounting international pressure.  

Rights groups say at least 11 people were killed on Wednesday after security forces moved into the central city of Homs.

They also say at least one civilian was killed and three others wounded after tanks moved into several northwestern villages near the Turkish border.

Meanwhile, witnesses say security forces have pushed further into Deir el-Zour, an eastern town that has been under siege for several days.

The violence has come at a time when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been facing growing international condemnation for his crackdown on dissent.

The U.S. announced new sanctions against Syria on Wednesday, saying it would freeze the U.S. assets of a bank and a mobile phone operator. The U.S. Treasury Department said both the Commercial Bank of Syria and Syriatel are part of the financial infrastructure helping the Syrian regime.

Later Wednesday, a White House spokesman repeated a U.S. assertion that Syria would be "better off" without Assad.

Also, a delegation consisting of Security Council members India, Brazil and South Africa met with Syria's foreign minister, Walid Moallem, on Wednesday.

The group issued a statement saying it expressed "grave concern" about Syria's unrest and called for restraint and a respect of human rights. The delegation says Assad assured them of his commitment to reforms and acknowledged that his security forces had made some mistakes in the initial stages of the unrest.

In a separate development, the U.N. Security Council is set to meet Wednesday to discuss possible further action against Damascus. Last week the Council issued a strong statement condemning the government crackdown on opposition protesters and calling for the violence to stop.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday a Turkish envoy had visited the flashpoint city of Hama, which had been under siege since late July.  

He says Syrian security forces have begun to pull out of the city and expressed hope that the government would begin to enact reforms in the near future.

His comments come a day after Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, met with Assad in Damascus and urged him to end the bloodshed.

A state-run news report says army units left Hama after restoring stability. The report said "armed terrorist groups" were responsible for the violence. Rights groups and activists say more than 100 people were killed in Hama during the government siege.

Assad has defended his crackdown on dissidents, saying it is a national duty to deal with what he called "outlaws" who block roads and, in his words, "terrorize" people.

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

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid