News / Middle East

Activists: Assad Forces Kill 60 in Syria's Homs, Hospitals Overwhelmed

Wounded men are seen in the Sunni Muslim district of Baba Amr in Homs, Syria, February 8, 2012.
Wounded men are seen in the Sunni Muslim district of Baba Amr in Homs, Syria, February 8, 2012.

Syrian rights activists say government forces have bombarded the rebellious central city of Homs for a sixth day, killing at least 60 people and leaving makeshift hospitals overwhelmed as divided world powers struggled to end the violence.

The activists said Thursday relentless government shelling and rocket strikes on Homs were creating a worsening humanitarian crisis, with rebel-dominated neighborhoods lacking water and electricity and running low on basic supplies. They said the onslaught that began early Saturday has killed hundreds of people, making it the deadliest attack on Homs of the 11-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's autocratic rule.

U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch said those responsible for "horrific attacks" on residential neighborhoods "will have to answer for them."

VOA spoke with a Syrian activist in Homs who goes by the alias Abo Emad to conceal his identity. He said Syrian security forces are not letting up on their assault, adding that even walking one block from the building where he is hiding can be deadly.

“Everyday is worse than the day before," he said of the government assault. "More deaths, more casualties, more injured people, more destroying buildings every day.”

Abo Emad said there is very little access to mobile phones or land lines. He added that hospitals are overflowing with injured people and there are not enough doctors or medical supplies to care for the wounded.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London told Alhurra TV that sporadic shelling is affecting parts of Homs, including Khaldiyeh and Bayadah, but that the heaviest onslaught is on the Baba Amr district, where conditions are extremely difficult.

Government forces are focusing on Baba Amr as it has been a center of the opposition.

In an opposition video, Muhammad al Muhammad, a doctor who is treating the wounded in Baba Amr, urged Syrians and the world community to protest the shelling attacks. He pointed to five children who appear to be wounded and called on Syrians to take to the streets to protest.

VOA cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the video's contents.

U.S. President Barack Obama called for an end to "outrageous bloodshed" in Syria in his latest condemnation of Mr. Assad's crackdown on the revolt. He was speaking Thursday after talks with visiting Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Mr. Obama has agreed to work with Washington's European and Arab allies to organize a group of nations known as Friends of Syria to explore ways of further isolating and pressuring the Assad government to stop the violence. Western and Arab nations decided to try to form the group after seeing Russia and China block their efforts to pressure Mr. Assad through the U.N. Security Council.

Moscow and Beijing vetoed a Western and Arab-backed Syria resolution on Saturday, the second time they have done so since October. Both powers said they do not want the Council to take sides in a domestic conflict and create a possible pretext for foreign intervention in Syria.

Video footage from Homs

Arab League foreign ministers were preparing to meet in Cairo on Sunday to discuss their next moves in the crisis. Officials said the ministers will discuss whether to recognize the opposition Syrian National Council as the legitimate representative of Syria and whether to send a joint Arab League-United Nations observer mission to the country.

In other developments Thursday, Libya said it ordered Syria's top envoy and embassy staff to leave the country within 72 hours. Germany also said it is expelling four diplomats from the Syrian Embassy in Berlin after authorities arrested two men suspected of spying on Syrian opposition groups.

Rebel Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad, who heads the loosely-knit Free Syrian Army that is fighting government forces, called the Syrian regime a tyranny and asked for help to defeat it.

Activists: Assad Forces Kill 60 in Syria's Homs, Hospitals Overwhelmed
Activists: Assad Forces Kill 60 in Syria's Homs, Hospitals Overwhelmed

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, says the Syrian government is trying to retake Homs in hopes of crushing the popular revolt at a key hub.

"They have been bombarding the city for the past six days," he said. "The bombarding is so heavy that it is clear that it is setting the stage for a ground offensive. The regime has made up its mind on conquering Homs, because they feel that if they conquer Homs, much of the uprising in the country will abate.”

Wire services and VOA reporter JulieAnn McKellogg contributed to this 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

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs