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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
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