News

Syrian Forces Pound Rebel-held Town as Some Aid Gets Through

Protesters hold a banner reading,
Protesters hold a banner reading, "Demand international protection and humanitarian aid" during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Al Qusour, Homs, March 2, 2012.

Syrian government forces pounded the northern rebel-held town of Rastan Sunday along with several districts of the beleaguered city of Homs. Humanitarian aid reached some areas near Homs but not the battered district of Baba Amr, taken by government forces Thursday.  

A Red Cross convoy to the Baba Amr district of Homs has been unable to reach it, according to International Committee of the Red Cross spokesman in Damascus, Saleh Dabakeh.  He said, however, that the Syrian Red Crescent Society is distributing aid elsewhere in and around Homs.

"We are trying to get in, since actually Friday, and although we have authorizations to get in, we have not been able to get in yet," he said. "We have not been allowed to get in.  A lot of the population of Baba Amr has been displaced during the fighting. They left, a lot of them left, so they have gone to nearby neighborhoods and villages. So, today we were distributing at a village called Abel, SARC (Syrian Arab Red Crescent) volunteers have been distributing all across Homs. We have food, non-food items such as hygiene kits, we're handing [out] blankets, and SARC, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, is even I think giving baby milk and diapers, as well."

Dabakeh notes that many residents of Baba Amr have fled to other parts of Homs and its outskirts, and are often living with friends, relatives, or even strangers.

“People in Homs are extremely hospitable. I have seen them giving their houses, the keys to their houses over to people they have never seen in their lives. So, even people you don't know, if they have room, they will take you in.”

The Syrian press Sunday claimed that it was still unsafe to enter Baba Amr because of the possibility of booby-trapped houses or mines. Other sources say government troops are still meeting resistance and continue to conduct mop-up operations.

Troops loyal to President Bashar al- Assad are reportedly continuing their offensive elsewhere in the country in parts of Daraa, near the Jordanian border, Deir ez Zor near Iraq, and in Hama and Idlib. Opposition activists claim government helicopters shelled several cities.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, says the Syrian government expects to crush the opposition Free Syrian Army, no matter how long it takes.

"It is logical considering the regime's mindset to follow up their gains in Homs by taking further land held by the opposition. So, I think the policy of the regime is to move from one area to another until they get done with the major military operations and claim victory and the regime is counting that they should be able to crush the bulk of the uprising by the end of March and then focus their energies on liquidating pockets of resistance, and they don't care if it takes them a year. But, right now they are trying to break the backbone of the Free Syrian Army," he said.

Opposition activist Hadi Abdallah in Homs told al Arabiya TV that there had been “numerous revenge killings and executions in Baba Amr,” including of women and children, during the past several days. He implored the world to help put a stop to the killings.

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.
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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs