News

    Syrian Activists: Women, Children Massacred in Homs

    A handout picture made available by the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution shows destroyed buildings in Inshaat district of Homs, March 7, 2012
    A handout picture made available by the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution shows destroyed buildings in Inshaat district of Homs, March 7, 2012

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The Syrian government and opposition activists traded accusations Monday for the killings of dozens of civilians in the embattled city of Homs. Syrian government troops, meanwhile, continued their offensive in northern Idlib province.

    Activists say the bodies of at least 45 women and children have been discovered in the central city that has been a flashpoint for an anti-government uprising and retaliatory attacks and shelling by Syrian forces.

    Showing gruesome videos of bodies in three locations, the opposition accuses pro-government militiamen known as “shabiha” for the killings.

    Syrian officials confirm the deaths, but the state news agency SANA blamed "terrorist armed groups" for kidnapping, killing and mutilating civilians in order to show their bodies to media outlets.

    Syrian state TV interviewed a handful of people who gave conflicting accounts of what happened.

    Watch related video of Homs violence

    The discovery of the corpses in Homs comes days after United Nations humanitarian coordinator Valerie Amos visited the devastated Baba Amr neighborhood, and after U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's weekend meetings with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami of the Hoover Institution blames the deaths in Homs on the Syrian government.

    "What's so surprising? It was known that [Bashar] wanted to break Homs, he wanted to break Baba Amr, he wanted to make an example of them," said Ajami.

    Ajami said Annan's mission to negotiate with the Syrian government is “diplomatic theater” and gives Assad's forces “more time to crush the rebellion.”

    “Any time a regime with big guns and big weapons and completely unmoored from international morality faces a civilian population, the regime will win, barring foreign intervention. So, the question is: Will there be a massacre large enough and decisive enough and brutal enough that awakens the powers of the world?” asks Ajami.

    In northern Syria, witnesses described a multi-pronged government offensive against opposition strongholds in various parts of Idlib province near the border with Turkey.

    The continued attacks come as the U.N. Security Council, meeting in New York, debated the Syrian government's crackdown.

     

    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.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Cha Cha Cohen
    March 13, 2012 3:55 AM
    Lybian people loved Gaddafi, they had a good life, free education and medical,which are all destroyed,the poor people suffer,the rich can get treatment in Jordan and education in other countries only to brain wash them! Same is repeated for Syria!

    by: Sam
    March 13, 2012 2:55 AM
    It is always the activists saying this and that. The reportage is too one-sided. Let the activists tell us how many soldiers and pro-Assad civilians they have also killed.

    by: HUANG ZHOU
    March 12, 2012 5:42 PM
    If you only believe in the opposition's words, you are only a fool and you are fooled by them. Are you sure that all the dead are victims of the government? In a war civilian casualties are inevitable. The US used to killed millions of Vietnamese innocent children by bombing Vietnam.

    by: Machar chuong ruot
    March 12, 2012 10:51 AM
    it is time to distroy all the dictators and Islmic terrorist so that the world may live in the garden of happiness

    by: Godwin
    March 12, 2012 9:58 AM
    Assad is being true to what he professes - islam. Allah has chosen him to rule Syria, anyone trying to remove him from the birthright is working against Allah and Allah will use al Assad to punish them - whoever it may be. The Arab League becomes mute here. Israel is trying to stop attack on its civilians and the league cries foul. A two-faced, insincere league! No wonder it can achieve next to nothing in all its existence: it's formed of falsehood.

    by: hamad part 2 of 2
    March 12, 2012 5:27 AM
    Egypt . Syria government will deal with rebels like Turkey has been dealing with Kurd whereas UN and US have turned a blind eye on Turkey crackdown in return of spreading US shield missile . Kurdish people have been seeking for their rights since ages but nobody wants to pay attention to their suffer .

    by: go now
    March 12, 2012 4:42 AM
    Why is there not a big deal over this as the story of the US soldier killing those people?

    by: Andrew Barlow
    March 12, 2012 4:32 AM
    Whenever support has to be drummed up for so-called freedom fighters who are in fact merely rebels or terrorists or both the killing of women and children is drawn into the matter. In this way sentiment at its basic level is sought and often obtained for such rebels and terrorists. and rebels come out in the open and not hide in cities and town among the civilian population and then fight so that no women and children could be killed.

    by: beancube2010
    March 12, 2012 4:05 AM
    The rebels arranged the city of Homs like this.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.