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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'i
X
Scott Stearns
September 23, 2014 10:52 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video US, Gulf Allies Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria

United States forces have carried out strikes against Islamic State or ISIL militant positions in Syria - the first time Western forces have taken action on Syrian soil. Five U.S. allies from the Gulf joined the military action. Local reports suggest dozens of militants were killed. The U.S. also carried out unilateral missile strikes against a Syria-based terror group which Washington says poses an imminent threat to the West. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Used to Kill Cancer Tumor

There is a new way of killing certain cancer tumors that allows the patient to go home on the same day. Surgeons at the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California became the first doctors to use this procedure on a patient with the help of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, and new robotic technology. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in Five Countries

Hollywood stars Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner and 30 others have voiced their support for a U.S.-backed initiative called "Let Girls Learn." The $231 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at ensuring public and quality education for girls worldwide. As VOA's Mariama Diallo reports, this new program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Video

Video UN: Relocation of Bedouins in Israel Weakens Two-state Solution

Rural Bedouins living in disputed lands east of Jerusalem could soon find themselves forcibly relocated. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Jerusalem that while Israel defends the move as in the Bedouins’ best interests, the United Nations says the plan threatens the survival of the two-state solution with Palestinians.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Prolonged Drought Plagues SW Oklahoma Farmers

Parts of western Texas and southwestern Oklahoma have been in drought conditions for several years running and the deficit in rainfall has taken a heavy toll on cotton and grain production. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says the state has suffered $2 billion in agricultural losses since 2011. There has been rain in recent weeks, but, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Altus, Oklahoma, for most farmers it has been too late.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid