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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
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.

AppleAndroid