News / Middle East

Syrian Government Launches New Raids Ahead of Security Council Meeting

This image made from amateur video released by Deir el-Zour Press news and accessed via The Associated Press Television News, shows Syrian tanks on the street in Deir el-Zour, Syria, Tuesday August 9, 2011
This image made from amateur video released by Deir el-Zour Press news and accessed via The Associated Press Television News, shows Syrian tanks on the street in Deir el-Zour, Syria, Tuesday August 9, 2011

Syrian security forces have launched new raids, as the U.N. Security Council prepares to discuss the country's unrest.

Rights groups say at least one civilian was killed and three wounded on Wednesday after tanks moved into several northwestern villages near the Turkish border.

Meanwhile, witnesses say security forces have pushed further into Deir el-Zour, an eastern town that has been under siege for several days.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been facing growing international condemnation for his crackdown on dissent.

The U.S. Wednesday announced new sanctions against Syria, freezing the U.S. assets of a bank and a mobile phone operator.  The U.S. Treasury Department said both the Commercial Bank of Syria and Syriatel are part of the financial infrastructure that has been enabling what he called the Syrian regime.

Later Wednesday, the Security Council is set to meet to discuss possible further action against Damascus.  Last week the Council issued a strong statement condemning the government crackdown on opposition protesters and calling for the violence to stop.

Also, a delegation consisting of Security Council members India, Brazil and South Africa met with Syria's foreign minister, Walid Moallem, on Wednesday in a move to halt the crackdown. The state-run SANA news agency says the foreign minister blamed "armed groups" for recent deaths and what he called acts of sabotage.

In a separate development, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday a Turkish envoy had visited the flashpoint city of Hama, which had been under siege since late July.  

He says Syrian security forces have begun to pull out of the city and expressed hope that the government would begin to enact reforms in the near future. His comments come a day after Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, met with Assad in Damascus and urged him to end the bloodshed.

A state-run news report says army units left Hama after restoring stability. The report said "armed terrorist groups" were responsible for the violence. Rights groups and activists say more than 100 people were killed in Hama during the government siege.

Assad has defended his crackdown on dissidents, saying it is a national duty to deal with what he called "outlaws" who block roads and "terrorize" people.

On Tuesday, the United States said Assad had made "horrible choices" in Hama and Deir el-Zour.  State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said it is "deeply regrettable" that Assad does not seem to be hearing the "increasingly loud voice of the international community."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone to his Syrian counterpart, Walid Moallem, on Tuesday and urged him to find ways to end the violence and enact political reforms. Iraq's parliament also urged Syria to end the bloodshed, and Jordan and Egypt expressed concern about the unrest.

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