News

Government Shelling, Deadly Blasts in Syria Despite Cease-fire

Handout photo released by Shaam News Network shows an anti-Assad demonstration in Hass in Idlib province on April 20, 2012.
Handout photo released by Shaam News Network shows an anti-Assad demonstration in Hass in Idlib province on April 20, 2012.

A cease-fire in Syria showed more signs of unraveling on Friday, as security forces fired shots at protesters and pounded opposition strongholds while the government blamed rebels for a deadly explosion. The Syrian opposition also held anti-government protests in several towns and cities.  

Syrian government troops pounded at least three districts in the flashpoint city of Homs Friday, despite an eight-day-old ceasefire.  Government tanks and armored personnel carriers also reportedly stormed one neighborhood of Daraa and surrounded a town south of Homs.

Opposition activist Hani Abdallah told Arab satellite channels that the situation inside Homs is desperate, as food, water and medical supplies have run short.  He said some of the wounded are dying of gangrene due to a lack of doctors and medicine.

In a visit to the southern city of Daraa, Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himiche, who heads the U.N. observer team, spoke with a rebel soldier, who told him the government is not observing the cease-fire.

He says that the town of Qasri was shelled and no one from the media was there to report on it.  He added that 60 people are missing from one town.

State-run media reports say an explosion killed 10 security force members near the Golan Heights region.  The government blamed "armed terrorists" for the attack.

Despite the cease-fire, the Syrian government has said it has the right to respond to attacks.

Rebel leader Mustafa al-Sheikh, who heads the Higher Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, urged countries sympathetic to the rebels to form a military alliance with the rebels to help topple the government:

He asked foreign governments friendly with the opposition to form a joint military alliance outside of the U.N. Security Council to conduct surgical strikes against the regime to prevent further bloodshed and restore stability in Syria.

Despite the ongoing violence, thousands of opposition protesters took to the streets of several Syrian towns and cities.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, said that the Syrian government has been unable to regain control over of the country, creating what continues to be a stalemate.

He said that President Bashar al-Assad is using force, like his father did in 1982, to remain in power.  He added that despite reliance on his two most powerful and loyal military units, Mr. Assad has failed to subdue the opposition stronghold of Homs and other flashpoint areas.

The U.N. Security Council is considering a plan that would increase the number of international monitors in Syria from about 30 to 300.

A U.N. spokesman described the cease-fire as "very fragile."  He expressed hope that additional monitors would be in place in Syria very soon.

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.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Syrian captive
April 21, 2012 12:00 AM
It’s something awesome! All of these human being who have been killed , detained or exiled all of them are representatives of Al-Qaeda and being killed is something natural! Also they are voices of terrorism and chaos!

by: George
April 20, 2012 5:34 AM
Doesn't Hillary ever run out of empty threats ?
How does she see her russian counterpart repeated declarations that Russia adamantly objects foreign interventions in the Syrian affairs while his country along with Iran and Iraq bluntly keep on pouring arms, financial aid, personals .. on daily bases !

by: George
April 20, 2012 5:32 AM
Doesn't Hillary ever run out of empty threats ?!
How does she see her russian counterpart repeated declarations that Russia adamantly objects foreign interventions in the Syrian affairs while his country along with Iran and Iraq bluntly keep on pouring arms, financial aid, personals ... on daily bases !!!

by: Andi
April 20, 2012 5:30 AM
I can not understand why USA support Rebels who are Al Quida representatives in Syria while they fight against Al Quida supporters else where.

by: George
April 20, 2012 5:05 AM
Obama is a weak president with a weak cabinet this is coupled with the fact that the Rebels aren't necessarily better than Assad. Lets face the facts. Inherently speaking the natural situation in the middle east and North Africa is Chaos! We may not like it but it is and has been the fact of life for thousands of years. No American or any government will change this.. We don't have to support the crooked regimes in the Arab world , lets just drill for more shale oil and ignore them!

by: A witness on the ground
April 20, 2012 4:46 AM
The reality is that right now the Syrian Army is a paper tiger. The majority of the non-commissioned Syrian soldiers are Sunnis. They will not fight to defend the Assad Regime. If NATO forces move against Assad soon, the resistance they’ll face in the 1st week or two will be stiff, but it will exhaust itself quickly and collapse. It will be important that NATO assists the Syrian Transitional Council to move quickly to provide leadership so there will not be a breakdown in law and order in Syria.

by: George
April 20, 2012 4:23 AM
Doesn't Hillary ever run out of empty threats ?!
How does she see her russian counterpart repeated declarations that Russia adamantly objects foreign interventions in the Syrian affairs while his country along with Iran and Iraq bluntly keep on pouring arms, financial aid, personals ... on daily bases !!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
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.

VOA Blogs