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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid