News / Middle East

Activists Say Syrian Troops Kill 50 in Homs

Residents rest in a shelter in is Baba Amr near Homs, February 8, 2012. Syrian forces thrusting into the rebellious city of Homs, killing dozens of civilians.
Residents rest in a shelter in is Baba Amr near Homs, February 8, 2012. Syrian forces thrusting into the rebellious city of Homs, killing dozens of civilians.

Syrian rights activists say government forces have killed at least 50 people in an ongoing assault on the central city of Homs, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged to consider sending a joint U.N.-Arab League team to Syria to monitor the escalating violence.

British-based activist say troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attacked Homs with gunfire, rockets and shells on Wednesday, heavily damaging more than 20 buildings in rebel-held districts. The activists say the government bombardment of Homs has killed hundreds of people since it began early Saturday. They say at least 13 other people were killed in violence around Syria Wednesday.

Syrian state media say "armed terrorists" detonated a car bomb in Homs, killing and wounding civilians and troops. State media also accused rebels of attacking the city's oil refinery.

Undated citizen journalism image provided by Local Coordination Committees in Syria shows man weeping as he sits next to a man who was purportedly killed in shelling by Syrian government forces, Homs, February 8, 2012. (AP Photo)
Undated citizen journalism image provided by Local Coordination Committees in Syria shows man weeping as he sits next to a man who was purportedly killed in shelling by Syrian government forces, Homs, February 8, 2012. (AP Photo)

In an opposition video, a young man named Danny Abou Diyne, working in a field clinic in the Homs district of Baba Amr, points to the dead body of a two-year old boy. He says the child was killed when a shell slammed into his house, destroying it.

“He's about two years old," he said. "He got hit in this war zone, in his house. Is this what the U.N. is waiting for, until there are no more children left? Until they kill all the children and all the women?

VOA cannot independently confirm the video or opposition figures concerning deaths because Syria restricts independent reporting.

Free Syrian Army (FSA) members in Saqba, a Damascus suburb, February 8, 2012. (Reuters photo)
Free Syrian Army (FSA) members in Saqba, a Damascus suburb, February 8, 2012. (Reuters photo)

Homs low on medical supplies

A doctor calling himself Mohammed Mohammed told Al Arabiya TV via webcam that he and his colleagues were working under extreme duress and that medical supplies were running low.  He begged the world to pressure Syria to allow ambulances to evacuate the wounded.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London told Alhurra TV that the government shelling was creating a human disaster. He added that it is difficult to get an exact casualty figure because many people were buried under the rubble.

Abdel Rahman also said pro-government militias killed 30 members of three families overnight when they stormed their homes on the outskirts of Homs.  He called the killings “a massacre.”

Activists Say Syrian Troops Kill 50 in Homs
Activists Say Syrian Troops Kill 50 in Homs

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, says Syrian military actions are taking place in a number of parts of the country and that most of the operations are under the command of President Assad's family members.

He says the military campaign is taking place in the northern district of Idlib, the southern Horan region bordering Jordan, in the outer suburbs of Damascus, as well as in Homs.  He says top members of Assad's family, including his brother-in-law Assef Shawqut and his brother Maher, are directing the campaign, resembling the Gadhafi family's involvement in the fighting in Libya.

Recent Comments on Syria
U.S. President Barack Obama said February 4 the citizens of Syria must know the United States is with them, and the Assad regime must come to an end.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin condemned all violence "regardless of its source," but said February 8 outside forces should let Syrians settle their conflict "independently."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Februray 7 the recent failure of the U.N. Security Council to pass a motion pressuring Syria was a fiasco.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said February 6 no government can attack its population "without its legitimacy being eroded."
U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has called for urgent international action to protect civilians in Syria, saying she is "appalled" by the government's "willful assault on the city of Homs."
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said February 8 Mr. Assad's reform promises are merely manipulation and should not be believed.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday Russia and China had set themselves apart from Arab and world opinion by voting against a U.N. resolution on Syria.


Turkey proposes conference

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday his government is ready to host an international conference to support the Syrian people. He said the conference should be held promptly in Istanbul or in another regional country. Davutoglu spoke before leaving for Washington to meet U.S. congressional leaders and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for talks likely to focus on Syria.

Washington has been exploring the possibility of providing humanitarian aid to Syrians in cooperation with U.S. allies. Western powers and Arab nations have said repeatedly they do not want to intervene militarily in the Syrian conflict.

A senior EU official said the 27-nation bloc plans to announce a tightening of economic sanctions on the Assad government at a foreign ministers meeting February 27.

The EU official said new measures against Syria are likely to include a block on financial transactions with the Syrian central bank and a ban on purchases of Syrian phosphates - one of the country's main natural resources. EU nations buy about 40 percent of Syria's phosphate exports. The EU stopped importing oil from Syria last year.

Russia opposes unilateral moves

The Kremlin said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy to avoid "hasty unilateral moves" toward Syria. Mr. Medvedev spoke to the French president by telephone Wednesday.

Moscow used its U.N. Security Council veto last week to block a Western and Arab-backed resolution that would have endorsed an Arab League plan calling on Mr. Assad to step aside. The Syrian president is a key Russian military ally.

Mr. Sarkozy's office said he used the phone conversation to call on the Russian president to fully support the Arab League plan and increase pressure on Mr. Assad to stop brutally repressing the Syrian people.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Mr. Assad in Damascus on Tuesday and secured a pledge from the Syrian president to assign his deputy to hold a dialogue with the Syrian opposition. But Syrian opposition groups have rejected dialogue with the Assad government.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday Mr. Assad had an opportunity to talk to the opposition early in the uprising, but Washington believes that opportunity no longer exists.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday he has "very little confidence" in the Russian-Syrian efforts, while French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Mr. Assad's promises are merely manipulation and should not be believed.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay called for urgent international action to protect civilians in Syria, saying she is "appalled" by the government's "willful assault on the city of Homs." Pillay also said is it time for the international community to "cut through the politics and take action" to protect the civilian population.

VOA Wire Services and reporter Dorian Jones in Istanbul contributed to the report.

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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
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.
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.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid