News / Middle East

Syrian Government Forces Retake Parts of Restive Northern Region

n this photo taken during a government-organized tour for the media, Syrian soldiers and armored vehicles arrive in Istabraq village near the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, Syria, Saturday, June 11, 2011.
n this photo taken during a government-organized tour for the media, Syrian soldiers and armored vehicles arrive in Istabraq village near the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, Syria, Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Syrian Army units have reportedly broken through the defenses of the restive, but mostly deserted, northern town of Jisr al Shaghour, after intense shelling by tanks and field artillery.  Meanwhile in Libya, rebel fighters have reportedly stepped up their pressure on supply lines into the capital Tripoli.

Syrian tanks have captured parts of the rebellious northern town of Jisr Shaghour, amid reports of heavy fighting in certain quarters of town.  Government TV claims army units had defused explosives from roads and bridges planted by “armed gangs” and “cleared gunmen from the town hospital.”

A rebel army officer holed up inside the town, Hussein Harmoush, told al Jazeera TV that none of the men fighting along side him had surrendered.  He claimed his men had laid booby-traps to “delay the entry of army forces into the town and to allow civilians to escape.”

Video and eyewitness reports say Syrian government attack helicopters were used extensively in operations around Jisr al Shaghour for a third consecutive day.  A number of witnesses reported the helicopters fired on fleeing civilians.

A Syrian human-rights activist told al Arabiya TV that 10,000 Syrian soldiers had been deployed in the region of Idlib, where Jisr al Shaghour is located, to try to put down the burgeoning popular rebellion.  Thousands of civilians have fled to nearby Turkey in recent days.

A video on Facebook showed a group of young men, overnight, trying to block a Syrian army convoy made up of tanks and supply trucks in the region of Idlib.  Syrian government media said the convoy had been “attacked” and that one man was killed.

Syrian TV also claimed that a mass grave was discovered in the region of Idlib, containing the bodies of security forces killed by “rebel gangs.”  It was impossible to verify the claim, since most foreign correspondents are not being allowed into the country.

A newly released video on Facebook showed pro-government militiamen kicking and stomping on several dozen captives, lying face down on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs.  The militiamen could be heard mocking their captives, calling them “animals.”

Groups of mostly young protesters also demonstrated against the government overnight in provincial towns, as well as Damascus suburbs, including Saqba, Hassaka, Douma, Qaboun and Midan.  A Syrian opposition website is calling for ongoing nightly protests against the government.

Al-Arabiya TV also reported a tribal leader from eastern Syria, Sheikh Nawaf al Bashir has accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah of attacking protesters during Friday demonstrations.  Several Lebanese political leaders who oppose Syria have made similar recent claims.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle denounced the Syrian government crackdown in Jisr al Shaghour, demanding that Damascus “stop the violence immediately.”  The White House also accused Syria of creating a humanitarian crisis, Saturday, calling for Damascus to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross “immediate, unfettered access” to the region.

In Libya, al-Arabiya TV reported that rebel fighters had gained control of parts of the coastal town of Zawiya, cutting off traffic along the coastal highway to Tripoli.  Fuel and other supplies are running short in the capital, amid reports of popular discontent.

Rebels fighters also battled pro-Gadhafi forces in the strategic oasis town of Sabha, before being beaten back.  Sabha is a key government stronghold along supply routes to southern Libya.  Pro-Gadhafi forces also pounded rebels with field artillery in the western mountain town of Zintan.

 

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

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws 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