News / Middle East

Syrian Activists Say Troops Continue Deadly Homs Assault

This image taken from video filmed over the past several days by an independent cameraman and made available February 7, 2012 shows a dead man carried outside in a funeral procession in Homs, Syria.
This image taken from video filmed over the past several days by an independent cameraman and made available February 7, 2012 shows a dead man carried outside in a funeral procession in Homs, Syria.

Syrian activists say government troops have killed scores of civilians in Homs, continuing a months-long siege of the city that has been a hub of protests against President Bashar al-Assad's 11-year autocratic rule.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the shelling Wednesday also heavily damaged more than 20 buildings in the city's Baba Amr district.  The bombardment follows days of assaults on Homs that activists say killed hundreds of people.

Casualty figures cannot be confirmed because Syria restricts independent reporting.

Russian visit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that a solution to the crisis through a national dialogue should come from Syrians themselves and that it is not up to the international community to decide the outcome of such talks in advance.

During a Tuesday meeting in Damascus, Assad said he wants Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa to head up talks with the opposition.

Efforts by the Arab League and Russia to organize talks have been rejected by Syrian opposition groups angered by the Assad government's deadly crackdown on the 11-month-old uprising.

Lavrov said Tuesday that Assad will push ahead with promised reforms and soon set a date for a referendum on a new constitution aimed at broadening political participation.

US criticism

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday it is hard to believe Assad's latest reform pledges as his forces continue to bombard civilians.  The Obama administration shut its embassy in Damascus Monday as part of a Western and Arab campaign to isolate Assad diplomatically and pressure him into stopping the crackdown.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday Washington also is exploring the possibility of providing humanitarian aid to Syrians, in cooperation with U.S. allies. He did not elaborate. Western powers and Arab nations have repeatedly said they do not want to intervene militarily in the Syrian crisis.

Ambassadors recalled


France, Italy and Spain recalled their ambassadors to Syria on Tuesday, citing the Assad government's continued repression. The six Gulf Cooperation Council states, led by Saudi Arabia, also announced they are withdrawing their ambassadors from Damascus and expelling Syrian envoys in response to the worsening violence.

Syrian activists say the international community's words and actions are not enough.

Syrian activist and engineer Abo Emad, who did not want his real name to be used, spoke with VOA via Skype Tuesday from the basement of a building in Homs where he was taking cover from the shelling with about 20 other people.  He said the Syrian people have lost confidence in the international community.

"They're saying that they're all partners in killing us," he said. "Even the Security Council.  Even the United Nations."

He said Syrian security forces were bombing everything, including homes, schools and mosques.

"They surrounded the area by snipers, and they're shooting at everything that moves," added Abo Emad. "Even the cats."

Terrorists blamed

The Syrian government blames the violence on "armed terrorists" bent on dividing and sabotaging the country.

Turkey said Tuesday it will launch a new initiative to address the situation in Syria.  Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is due to arrive in Washington Wednesday for talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has said the United States would work with other nations to tighten sanctions against Assad's government and deny it arms in the absence of a U.N. resolution.

On Saturday, Russia and China vetoed a Western and Arab-backed U.N. Security Council resolution that would have endorsed an Arab League plan for Assad to step aside, order his troops to stand down and enact democratic reforms.  Moscow and Beijing said they blocked the measure because they perceived it as taking sides in a domestic conflict and providing a possible pretext for foreign military intervention.

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

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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid