News / Middle East

Fighting Rages in Syria; UNHCR Warns of Growing Trauma

Residents and Free Syrian Army fighters are seen near damaged tents for Syrian refugees after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on the outskirts of Idlib, near the Syrian-Turkey border, November 26, 2012.
Residents and Free Syrian Army fighters are seen near damaged tents for Syrian refugees after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on the outskirts of Idlib, near the Syrian-Turkey border, November 26, 2012.
VOA News
Activists say Syrian government warplanes targeted an olive press factory near the city of Idlib Tuesday, in the country's north, killing at least 20 people. They say dozens more have been wounded.

Video released Tuesday also shows the aftermath of a government airstrike on an unfinished refugee camp in Bab Al-Hawa, near the Syrian-Turkish border. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says violence across the country has killed more than 40,000 people since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March of last year.   

The United Nations fears the crisis is only going to worsen.

U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos visited the Zaatari refugee camp Tuesday in Jordan, near the Syrian border, taking time to talk to refugees and their children.

Amos described the situation as bleak.

"This camp already hosts over 30,000 people, we anticipate that more will come, half of them are children, you can see the anger, the fear, the resentment, there is considerable trauma here," she said.

Many of those at the refugee camp say there are barely enough supplies to meet their most basic needs.

"The situation is very bad, it is cold, as you see, the tents let rainwater in, water goes into the tents, the children are freezing, there are no blankets to keep the women and children warm,'' said refugee Mohammed Ali Samara.

The UNHCR's Amos said relief workers can only do so much.

"We will do all we can to help the refugees and the people of Syria, but this requires the international community to come together, to work together and to find a political solution which meets the needs of the Syrian people," she said.

The UNHCR says the number of Syrian refugees has doubled since September, totaling 442,000, but that the figure does not include the many Syrians who have not registered with relief agencies.

Separately, video posted online Tuesday appeared to show Syrian rebels shooting down a military helicopter.

The video - which goes on to show the helicopter crashing into a field - cannot be independently confirmed. But some opposition activists, like British-based Abdul Omar, say they remain hopeful.

"The rebels have become much more organized over the past month or so and they are bringing the fight much, much closer to Assad's key, strategic military bases," said Omar.

Omar told VOA that what seems to be holding the rebels back, more than anything, is the sheer size and scope of the regime's military apparatus.

"Those who are optimistic among us would say that the rebels with the support that they have received, in terms of logistical support and training, are actually able to conduct some highly risky operations and so far they seem to be gaining ground. The problem is that this has been happening slowly," said Omar.

Also Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said there was "compelling evidence" a Syrian government jet dropped two cluster bombs on a rebel-held village near Damascus, killing 11 children.

HRW based its assessment on witness interviews and on video posted to the Internet. The group said markings on the remnants of the cluster bomb indicate it was made in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

The Syrian army has denied a HRW report issued in October that government forces have used cluster bombs, saying it did not possess such weapons. Cluster bombs are banned under a 2010 U.N. treaty, although Syria, like Israel, Russia and the United States, has not signed the pact.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 28, 2012 3:08 AM
Dropping bombs on refugee camps should be a war crime, as should dropping cluster bombs. Assad is a war criminal of the highest level. Unfortunately he needs to be fought with the same method of fighting he is dishing out :(. He needs to be captured immediatly. In the country of Syria if he was found guilty of murder (Which we all know he is...) he would be sentenced to death. The world watches as the Syrians fight for what is right.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid