News / Middle East

Syrian Forces Detain Dozens in Latakia

Image taken from amateur video purports to show armored vehicles and troops taking up positions in Latakia on August 15, 2011. (The content and location of this image cannot be independently verified.)
Image taken from amateur video purports to show armored vehicles and troops taking up positions in Latakia on August 15, 2011. (The content and location of this image cannot be independently verified.)

Activists say Syrian security forces have detained hundreds of people in the besieged port city of Latakia, filling a sports stadium because local detention centers were overflowing with prisoners.

A London-based Syrian rights group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Wednesday that more than 700 troops raided homes in Latakia's southern al-Raml district, arresting people on lists.

Activists also said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad killed nine people in the central city of Homs, including two protesters shot dead in front of a mosque after nightly Ramadan prayers.

Latakia's al-Raml is home to a crowded Palestinian refugee camp where many low-income Syrians also live. United Nations officials say as many as 10,000 residents fled the neighborhood during Syria's four-day operation to crush dissent in the city.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said Wednesday it has determined the whereabouts of about 2,000 of the displaced people and is providing them with aid.

At least 35 people have been killed in the Latakia crackdown.  Syria announced Tuesday it is pulling its military out of the city and that it has also begun to withdraw forces from the eastern town of Deir el-Zour.  However, residents said Wednesday that troops remain in the city.

In the capital, Damascus, troops carried out dawn raids in the predominantly Kurdish neighborhood of Rukneddine, where security forces detained dozens after cutting off electricity.  A number of anti-government protests had recently taken place in the neighborhood.

Mr. Assad has been facing growing international pressure to end the violent crackdown.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday compared the situation in Syria with that in Libya, noting that Mr. Assad's government continues to kill civilians despite repeated diplomatic intervention.  Separately, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called for "the bloodshed" to stop during a joint news conference with his Jordanian counterpart.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the situation in Syria is "galvanizing international opinion" against Mr. Assad's government.  She said the U.S. is pushing for stronger sanctions against Syria and hopes countries with closer economic ties to the country will join the efforts.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said it is withdrawing its non-essential personnel from Syria.  On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council will hold a special session on Syria that will include a briefing from human rights chief Navi Pillay.

Rights groups and activists say at least 1,800 civilians have been killed since the start of the government's crackdown in mid-March.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs