Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger : Top Oppostion figure to be questioned in baby trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call back

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000 (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000

Read more

WEB NEWS

'Ice Bucket Challenge' angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

#TECH 24

Tomorrow's Transport Today

Read more

FOCUS

Mothers and children leaving Honduras at all costs

Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

Middle east

Regime forces target Sunni areas of northwest Syria

© AFP file photo

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-05-04

Regime troops continued an offensive on Sunni areas of the northwestern Syrian city of Banias on Friday, a rights group said. Clashes between opposition rebels and the Syrian army broke out Thursday in Banias and the Sunni village of Bayda.

The Syrian army bombarded Sunni areas of Banias on Friday as heavy gunfire rocked the northwestern city, a watchdog said, raising fears of a new massacre.

"Some neighbourhoods in southern Banias are being bombarded by regular troops and soldiers manning checkpoints in the area have opened up with fire," said the Britain-based watchdog.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said troops were raiding homes and making arrests "triggering panic" among residents.

"I fear that there could be a massacre like the one that happened yesterday in Bayda," a Sunni village south of Alawite-majority Banias, Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Fierce clashes between rebels and soldiers erupted Thursday in Banias and Bayda, where government troops and pro-regime militias were accused by the opposition of carrying out a "large-scale massacre".

Citing witness accounts of civilians being stabbed to death in Bayda, the opposition National Coalition called for urgent action from the United Nations and the Arab League "to save the civilians of Bayda, Banias and other villages across Syria".

In its statement, the opposition accused the Syrian regime of "war crimes and genocide".

Abdel Rahman told AFP on Thursday, citing villagers who fled Bayda, that "at least 50 people were killed in summary executions and shelling" in the village.

The Observatory, which relies on a broad network of sources on the ground for its information, also reported on Thursday that some people "were summarily executed, shot to death, stabbed or set on fire".

It said regular troops were backed by shabiha, pro-government militiamen.

The Alawite sect to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs is an offshoot of Shiite Islam while insurgents battling to topple his regime are mainly Sunni Muslims.

Along with Daraa, cradle of the uprising against Assad's regime in the south, Banias saw some of the first anti-regime demonstrations in March 2011.

Banias has a population of about 40,000, half of whom are Sunnis, 45 percent Alawites and the rest Christians and Ismailis, another Shiite branch, according to experts.

The Sunni-populated village of Bayda is home to about 6,000 people.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-05-03

  • HAARETZ

    US involvement in Syrian conflict breeds uncertainty

    Read more

  • SYRIA - USA

    US reconsiders arming Syria rebels

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Hezbollah pledges to assist Assad in Syria conflict

    Read more

COMMENT(S)