News / Middle East

Syrian Troops Recapture Strategic Town From Jihadist Rebels

  • Residents gather at a site hit by what activists say was a Scud missile from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, Nov. 28, 2013.
  • Civilians and rescuers search under rubble at a site hit by what activists say was a Scud missile from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, Nov. 28, 2013.
  • A man walks along a damaged street in Deir al-Zor, Nov. 27, 2013.
  • A view shows damaged buildings along a deserted street in the besieged area of Homs, Nov. 25, 2013.
  • People carry a man on a stretcher after he was injured by shelling in the besieged area of Homs, Nov. 25, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters sit together as they rest in Deir al-Zor, Nov. 25, 2013.
  • Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad carry their weapons and walk in Aleppo's village of Aziza, Nov. 25, 2013.
  • A Kurdish Security Forces vehicle is seen damaged from a suicide bombing in Qamishli, Nov. 25, 2013.
  • People carry the body of a civilian activist killed during what activists said was an ambush, during a funeral in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Nov. 24, 2013.
VOA News
Syria says its troops have recaptured a strategic town seized by Islamist rebels last week near the border with Lebanon.

Syrian state media said government forces took control of Deir Attiyeh,  located in the Qalamoun region, on Thursday.

Rebels have been using Qalamoun as a base from which to bring in supplies from Lebanon. The Syrian government has been staging a weeks-long offensive to cut off the rebels from those supply routes.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighting in the town had killed five doctors and four other medical workers.

Also Thursday, mortar fire hit the Russian embassy in Damascus, killing a Syrian and wounding nine others.  

Commenting on the incident, the U.S. State Department said the United States condemns "any attack against individuals or facilities protected by international law."

The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been trying to strengthen its position in a two-year civil war with rebels ahead of a January 22 peace conference in Geneva.

The U.N.-backed conference aims to bring the government and its opponents together to peacefully resolve the conflict by agreeing on the formation of a transitional government.

Assad's forces received a boost on the battlefield earlier this year, when pro-Assad Lebanese militant group Hezbollah sent its men into Syria to join the fight against the rebels.

In reports published Thursday, Lebanese sources said a nephew of a senior Hezbollah leader was killed in fighting in the Qalamoun region this week. They said the slain militant was a relative of Hussein Haj, who serves as Lebanon's agriculture minister.

In another development, a video posted on the Internet appeared to show radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants publicly executing seven members of a rival, more moderate rebel group in the northern town of Atarib.

In the video, the jihadists accuse the members of the Ghuraba al-Sham battalion of theft and corruption before killing them with gunshots to the head as crowds of supporters cheer.

ISIL has been trying to solidify its power in parts of Syria by eliminating smaller rival groups in pursuit of its goal of an Islamic state. The jihadists reject compromise with the Assad government and say moderate opposition figures willing to attend the Geneva conference do not represent them.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 28, 2013 3:23 PM
The only reason that bashar al assad is not facing the International Criminal Court is jurisdiction. Until this hurdle is overcome, he will continue with his killing spree without thinking of the consequences.

He must be held fully accountable for every civilian he has murdered. There is enough evidence to convict him, however no jurisdiction.
In Response

by: comment_here_and_there
November 28, 2013 11:17 PM
there's also evidence to convict ALL the rebels for that very reason
they are all the same there

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs