News / Middle East

    Syria Says Ready to Evacuate Civilians From Bombarded Homs

    This image made from amateur video purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria. Syrian forces renewed shelling of the central city of Homs on Monday, one day after the head of the U.N. observers' mission demanded that warring parties allow
    This image made from amateur video purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria. Syrian forces renewed shelling of the central city of Homs on Monday, one day after the head of the U.N. observers' mission demanded that warring parties allow
    VOA News
    Syria says it is ready to act on a U.N. appeal to evacuate civilians from the rebellious central city of Homs, which government forces have bombarded since early June to try to crush a 15-month anti-government uprising.

    The Syrian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it has contacted U.N. observers in the country and local authorities to try to arrange an evacuation from Homs, where opposition activists estimate 1,000 families have been trapped. But, the government said the observers' efforts failed due to obstruction from armed terrorist groups - its term for rebels leading the revolt. The Syrian statement also accused rebels of using Homs civilians as "human shields."

    U.N. observer chief Robert Mood has appealed to Syrian government and rebel forces to allow women, children and the wounded to flee Homs and other combat zones. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said dozens of wounded people are stuck in Homs and other rebel-dominated areas without medicine or doctors.

    Mood, a Norwegian general, was due to appear at the U.N. Security Council in New York later Tuesday to brief members about the status of his 300-strong observer team, whose work he suspended on Saturday due to Syria's escalating violence.

    British Ambassador to the United Nations Lyall Grant said Monday that many Council members will ask General Mood for his view of the mission's prospects for achieving its mandate in light of the conflict. In recent weeks, the unarmed observers have been caught up in several shooting and bombing incidents that damaged U.N. vehicles but caused no injuries to U.N. personnel.
    • This image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
    • Fire burns after shelling at the Al Qussoor area in Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
    • This image made from amateur video purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria. Syrian forces renewed shelling of the central city of Homs on Monday, one day after the head of the U.N. observers' mission demanded that warring parties allow
    • Residents flee their homes after shelling in Houla near Homs, Syria, June 18, 2012.
    • Residents gather during the funeral of Hussein Omish, whom protesters say was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Jubar outside Damascus, Syria, June 18, 2012.
    • Demonstrators hold opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Kfr Suseh, Damascus, Syria. June 18, 2012

    The U.N. Security Council agreed to send the mission to Syria in April to monitor government and rebel compliance with a U.N.-backed cease-fire agreement, but the truce never took hold. The observers' 90-day mandate expires on July 20. Grant said he does not rule out ending the mission before then.

    Syrian rights activists said fighting across the country killed at least 79 people Monday, most of them civilians. The casualties could not be independently confirmed.

    U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement Monday calling for an "immediate cessation of all violence" in Syria. The two leaders met on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Mexico. The statement also said Washington and Moscow are "united" in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to "democratically choose their own future."

    But, Obama and Putin did not announce any new initiatives to resolve the Syrian conflict, which has been a source of sharp disagreement between the two powers.
     
    Russia is a longtime ally of Syria and has shielded President Bashar al-Assad from U.N. sanctions sought by Western and Arab powers who oppose his 11-year autocratic rule.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    June 19, 2012 12:03 PM
    Just remember one thing Bashar, atrocities are never forgotten, and history is never "Changed" it's in the past and proven. You will not be forgotten as a man who inflicted atrocities on his very own people. You will go down in history as a cruel, ruthless, evil person, who hides the fact. It will all catch up to you sooner or later. Just imagine if your family was put through what you and your forces have done to civillians. It's one thing to have a war with an army vs army, but it is another thing to inflict harm on your own civillians, it shows you as a coward. Hopefully sooner or later the worlds criminal court will catch up to you, and you will have the same fate as every other evil dictator. Every person in the last 15 years that inflicted atrocities has been fully held accountable except for those who haven't been apprehended, just remember that. That goes for the men under your belt also.

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