News / Middle East

Syrian Forces Continue Shelling Homs as Monitors Near

Syrian government forces shelled parts of the besieged city of Homs for the fifth consecutive day Monday, causing numerous casualties, as a team of Arab League observers headed to the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Syrian government forces pounded the districts of Bab Amr and Bab Sibah in Homs, using tank shells, field artillery and mortars. Videos on opposition websites showed bodies lying in the streets and others being piled onto trucks.

Other opposition videos showed buildings pock-marked by shrapnel, store-fronts blasted open, and rubble in the streets. A young man named Ibn Ayoush explained what happened to him.  

He said he lost his father, his house and his car in the shelling. He asked why the Arab League observer team has not yet made it to Homs to see what is happening and to see how people are being killed. He asked why the world is doing nothing.

Numerous witnesses indicated that electricity was cut and food was running short in many parts of Homs. A video on Facebook showed women in the Bab Amr district pleading that life is becoming desperate.

One woman said her area has been bombed every day for more than a week, killing and wounding many people, and making it difficult to remove bodies from the streets. She said there is no telephone and that life has ground to a halt.

Meanwhile, a team of Arab League observers was heading to Damascus to begin a mission whose stated goal is to protect civilians as Syrian authorities try to suppress a nine-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Team member Talah Atlassi said the Arab League mission will visit five regions of Syria, including Homs, with the consent of the government, and will talk to various parties, including citizens, organizations and government officials, listening to all viewpoints.

Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun told Al Arabiya TV that the Arab observers “must not put off visiting Homs until Tuesday, giving the government more time to shell the city.” The French foreign ministry also urged the Arab League team to “visit Homs immediately.”

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, said the Syrian government has made crushing the rebellion in Homs a top priority:

"I don't think [the government] can quell the uprising, but I think they are planning to deliver a major blow to it, because Homs is the focus and the base of the uprising," said Khashan. "Once they're done with it, I think they may allow the Arab observers to have a cursory look at the situation there."

Syrian state TV insisted again on Monday that government forces are battling “armed terrorists,” and claimed that two car bombs in a Damascus suburb Friday was the work of those alleged terrorists. Opposition leaders accuse the government of being behind the bombings.

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.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs