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

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid