News / Middle East

Syrian Uprising Moves Closer to Capital

Hunkering down: a poster of Syria's president at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus, January 2012.
Hunkering down: a poster of Syria's president at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus, January 2012.

Damascus has been spared much of the violence gripping Syria, although there are signs that the uprising is moving closer on the capital.

The body of a Syrian general is on its way to burial.  Chopin's Funeral March merges with trilling laments and chants of pro-government slogans.

Watch related video clip:

Officials say General Mohammed Abdul-Hamid al Awad was on his way to work this week when an "armed terrorist group" attacked him outside his Damascus home.

His funeral procession is attended by Arab League monitors.  Afterward, they are shown the bodies of at least six young men officials describe as soldiers killed in recent fighting.

The bodies of young men the government says are soldiers killed near Damascus, January 2012.
The bodies of young men the government says are soldiers killed near Damascus, January 2012.

A morgue official counts a total of 58 stab wounds to one body, many of them, he says, inflicted after the man died.

The post-mortem wounds raise questions, but many government accounts are rejected by the opposition as manipulated or fabricated.

Even without all the answers, the killing of a prominent military figure in the capital, once seemingly immune to the unrest, adds to fears following two suicide bombings in the past month.  

In some ways, Damascus appears normal.  Shops and restaurants are open, though financial sanctions have turned it into a cash-based system.  More telling are the checkpoints and sandbagged positions around the city, speaking to fears of further troubles. 

Amal, who gives just her first name, says the military is justified in its actions, in what she sees as a bid to maintain security. "People are killing each other because of sect, because of religion, because whatever it is.  So the military needs to go on the streets because this is the country's military," she said. "If somebody is wrong, they need to enforce law."

Despite ongoing security efforts, the government has not been able to quell the unrest in towns ringing the capital.  And in Zabadani, 40 kilometers away, opposition forces say they have reached a ceasefire with government troops.  If confirmed, it would be a rare concession by the state on the military strength of its opponents.

 

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid