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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid