News / Middle East

More than 200 Dead After Shelling in Syrian City

A view of houses that residents said were damaged during a military crackdown on protesters against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is seen in Rasten near Homs, February 3, 2012.
A view of houses that residents said were damaged during a military crackdown on protesters against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is seen in Rasten near Homs, February 3, 2012.

Syrian opposition supporters buried the dead Saturday from what they are calling a “massacre” in the country's third largest city of Homs Friday.  More than 200 people were reportedly killed and many others wounded in random shelling of an opposition controlled neighborhood. Opposition activists also stormed Syria's embassies in Egypt and Kuwait, amid widespread condemnation of the violence. Meanwhile at the United Nations Saturday,  Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.  

Hundreds of angry mourners chanted slogans against the regime of President Bashar al Assad Saturday, as they carried the coffins of those who died in what is being called a bloody “massacre.”

Opposition witnesses claim that government tanks and artillery opened fire on the opposition neighborhood stronghold of Khalidiya Friday evening, destroying entire buildings and burying scores of people under the rubble. Opposition videos showed at least several dozen corpses of mostly young men.

Syrian government TV called the reports a “fabrication,” and insisted that they were meant to influence the United Nations.

Opposition activist Abou Khaled al Homsi told al Hurra TV that the cannons are now silent, but he denies the government claim:

He says that there's a kind of calm that's fallen over Homs after funerals for the victims, though some skirmishes continue between the Free Syrian Army and the Assad forces at the entrances of several neighborhoods. He says that Syrian media reports are false and claims that it does not bother the government to bomb an entire neighborhood and kill 300 people.”

Government forces opened fire on protesters in the Damascus suburb of Daraya Saturday, during what was reportedly a sympathy march for the victims of Friday's bombing in Homs. Videos of protests in other towns and cities were posted on opposition websites.

Scores of opposition protesters attacked the Syrian Embassy in Cairo, setting fire to part of the building and ransacking the ambassador's office. Another crowd of angry protesters also attacked the Syrian Embassy in the Gulf state of Kuwait.
There were also reported attacks on Syrian embassies in Berlin, London and Athens and on the Syrian consulate in Istanbul.

Middle East analyst Fouad Ajami of the Hoover Institution argues that its still difficult to predict if and when President Assad is going to fall, but that his power has been seriously eroded. "People say (Assad) is a dead man walking, but it's not true. People say his fall is imminent. People say 'within weeks,' but the weeks stretch on. I think that by its nature, the standoff between Bashar and his opposition, the dissidents, the protesters....this standoff is uncallable. We don't know how it ends. He's hunkered down, but the opposition, the Syrian population that has broken with him. I can't see them going back to obedience," he said.

Ajami does believe, however, that the equation in Syria has changed dramatically in recent weeks, after parts of Damascus and Syria's second city of Aleppo joined the protests, and as the economy sours. "Something happened recently, which I think will change the dynamics. I've always refused to make any predictions, but I think the eruption of both Aleppo and Damascus has changed the dynamics. The equation has been altered. The last arrow in the quiver of Bashar, that he is good for commerce, good for the bazaar and good for stability, they're gone," he said.

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 Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs