News / Middle East

US Voices 'Horror' over NYT Syria Execution Photo

This image made from amateur video released by Tabshoor1 and accessed July 31, 2012, purports to show Free Syrian Army soldiers executing Assad loyalists in Aleppo, Syria. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT,
This image made from amateur video released by Tabshoor1 and accessed July 31, 2012, purports to show Free Syrian Army soldiers executing Assad loyalists in Aleppo, Syria. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT,
VOA News
Images of Syrian rebels executing seven government soldiers displayed the violence of the Syrian civil war Thursday as world leaders met for summit talks in Russia, with no sign they have reconciled their differences over that Middle East conflict.
 
The U.S. State Department said it was "horrified" by video and photographic images published by The New York Times. The influential newspaper identified the leader of the execution squad and reported he ordered the videotaping last year to drum up support for the rebel cause.
 
There was no official comment on the grisly images in St. Petersburg, where the Group of 20 nations met for their annual economic summit. U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who are at odds over how to respond to the carnage in Syria, greeted each other as the summit began, but there were no reported private contacts between them.
 
At the State Department in Washington, spokeswoman Jan Psaki condemned summary executions by any party to the Syrian conflict. She did not dispute the newspaper account that said the killings documented executions carried out in April, but said U.S. authorities are seeking more information.

The newspaper has since issued a correction, noting the incident took place in 2012, not this past April.
 
The video showed prisoners crouching in front of their captors. They were stripped to the waist and their backs were covered with red welts.
 
The seven pressed their faces into the dirt as the rebel commander recited what was described as a revolutionary verse. About 24 gunshots followed, and the victims' bodies were thrown into a well.
 
In St. Petersburg, President Obama is seeking support for military strikes against Syria's government for its widely reported use of chemical weapons last month.
 
Putin supports the Syrian government's contrary account of the poison-gas attacks near Damascus that are said to have killed more than 1,400 people. The Assad regime and its supporters in the Kremlin contend it was rebels who used illegal chemical weapons, firing at government troops.
 
The Russian president has warned that military strikes such as those Obama is proposing would be unacceptable "aggression" against Syria if they are not authorized by the United Nations. Russia has blocked previous efforts by the Security Council to act against Syria for its tactics in the civil war, which is now in its third year. But Putin says he would support a strike if there was "convincing" proof that Damascus used chemical weapons.
 
Russia and China both have cast vetoes at the Security Council to defeat Western efforts to hold Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government responsible for the wholesale slaughter of civilians caught up in the conflict.
 
At the U.N., where American officials hosted briefings on the events in Syria, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said Russia is holding the world body hostage and shirking its international responsibilities.
 
“There is nothing in the pattern of our interactions with our colleagues in the Security Council, our Russian colleagues, that would give us any reason to be optimistic. And, indeed, we have seen nothing in President Putin’s comments that suggests there is an available path forward at the Security Council,” said Power.
 
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate could begin debate next week on a measure calling for limited military strikes on Syria.  A key Senate panel on Wednesday approved the draft resolution, which also rules out deploying U.S. ground troops to the country.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More