Syrian capital, south hit by blackout
DAMASCUS — A power outage plunged Damascus and southern Syria into darkness late Saturday, Syria's state news agency said, while anti-regime activists reported a string of tit-for-tat, sectarian kidnappings in the country's north.
The news agency, SANA, quoted Electricity Minister Imad Khamis as saying that the failure of a high-voltage line had left the nation's south without power.
The blackout affected Syria's capital, Damascus, and the southern provinces of Daraa and Sweida, which abut the Jordan border.
An Associated Press reporter in Damascus reported dark streets across the capital. A fuel shortage makes it hard for residents to run backup generators.
A similar blackout struck Damascus and southern Syria on Jan. 20, leaving many residents with no way to heat their homes on a cold winter night. The government blamed that outage on a rebel attack, and power was restored to most areas on the following day.
The Syrian capital's 2.5 million residents have grown used to frequent power outages as the country's conflict has damaged infrastructure and sapped the government's finances.
Meanwhile, anti-regime activists reported a string of kidnappings in recent days that have inflamed tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslim villages that back opposite sides in the nation's civil war.
The activists differed on the number kidnapped from both sides, with reports ranging from a few dozen to more than 300.
The abductions point to the dark sectarian overtones of Syria's civil war, which pits a predominantly Sunni Muslim rebellion against a regime dominated by President Bashar Assad's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. The country is also home to Christian, Kurdish, Armenian and Shiite communities, all of whom have been swept up in the conflict.
The kidnappings took place between two Shiite villages in the northern Idlib province and a number of Sunni villages that surround them.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 42 Shiites, including mainly women and children, were snatched on Thursday from a bus that was traveling from the Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya to the capital Damascus. Observatory director Rami Abdul-Rahman said it was not clear who took them, adding that Shiites have refused to give the names of those kidnapped or details about the make or color of the bus.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- No movement yet on Afghan cabinet
- North Korea proposes joint probe over hacking attack against Sony
- 2 ISIS leaders dead in airstrikes, U.S. says
- Muslim cleric gunman killed as police end standoff in Sydney cafe
- Grief in Pakistan over school rampage turns to anger toward military
- Putin confident in financial recovery, tells Russians West cannot ‘chain the bear’
- In Mideast, refugee babies left stateless
- Clashes delay rescue of Yazidis off Mt. Sinjar
- Russia seeks 10 years in prison for Putin foe Navalny