News / Middle East

Syrian Forces Attack Demonstrators Near Turkish Border

In this photo taken during a government-organized visit for media, Syrian army soldiers ride on their military trucks as they enter the villages near the town of Jisr al-Shughour, north of Damascus, June 10, 2011
In this photo taken during a government-organized visit for media, Syrian army soldiers ride on their military trucks as they enter the villages near the town of Jisr al-Shughour, north of Damascus, June 10, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Mourners across Syria laid to rest the bodies of dozens of people killed when government forces fired on anti-government demonstrators, and military units are continuing their crackdown against the town of Jisr al-Shughour, near the Turkish border. In Yemen, officials say at least 30 government soldiers and suspected militants have been killed in fighting in southern Abyan Province.  

Witnesses in northern Syria say government attack helicopters are being used to strafe targets in several besieged towns.  Videos on Facebook show the helicopters firing on towns with what residents say is large-caliber ammunition.

Several witnesses told Al Jazeera TV the helicopters “fired indiscriminately on groups of refugees from the air.”

Arab satellite channels also broadcast videos of several army officers announcing that they had quit in order to defend unarmed civilians in towns that have come under government attack.  Witnesses report that rebel officers have taken up positions inside the town of Jisr al-Shughour, under assault by government tanks.

Watch a related TV report by Henry Ridgwell:


Much of Jisr al-Shughour appears to be deserted. Residents fled through fields into neighboring Turkey, and several witnesses said Syrian troops set fire to fields and fired on fleeing residents. Turkey has set up tents on its side of the border for more than 4,000 refugees.

Syrian government TV's version of events says “terrorist gangs” had taken control of Jisr al-Shughour, harming civilians and stealing food supplies.  The state-run broadcaster said the Syrian Army moved in “to bring bread and restore security,” and that people in the region welcomed the troops "with open arms.”

State TV reported that a group of Lebanese journalists escorted by Syrian government officials came under fire on the outskirts of Jisr al-Shughour.  Most foreign correspondents are not being allowed into Syria and it is difficult to confirm developments on the ground.

Hundreds of mourners chanted slogans against the government Saturday in the Damascus suburb of Qaboun for the funeral of slain protester Ali Wafiq Ramadan - one of at least 32 protesters reported killed during demonstrations across the country on Friday.

Al Arabiya TV reported that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem sent a message to the U.N. demanding that the Security Council abstain from “interfering in Syrian internal affairs.”  The foreign minister also warned that any international condemnation of Damascus would “encourage extremists and terrorists.”

The U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has complained that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is refusing to accept his telephone calls, with underlings demanding to know the reason for Mr. Ban's call before putting him through.

Yemeni army soldiers, check a car, at a checkpoint in Sana'a, June 11, 2011
Yemeni army soldiers, check a car, at a checkpoint in Sana'a, June 11, 2011

In Yemen, Deputy Information Minister Abou Janadi insisted that Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi was in charge of the country in the absence of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who left for Saudi Arabia last week after suffering serious injuries in a rocket attack.  The spokesman disputed reports that Mr. Saleh’s son, Ahmed, either had seized power or would move to do so.

Reports from Saudi Arabia say President Saleh is in serious condition in a hospital there, recuperating from surgery to remove shrapnel from his wounds that had affected his breathing.

Clashes between government forces and al-Qaida rebels in the Yemeni coastal town of Zinjibar and another area nearby left 21 militants dead Saturday.  Nine soldiers also were killed according to Yemen’s defense ministry.  Al-Qaida militants seized control of Zinjibar last month.

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

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs