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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs