Syria's Homs battered as weekend death toll nears 80

Published Jun 17, 2012 10:28am

Smoke which activists say is due to shelling by government forces, rises above buildings in Homs June 5, 2012. Picture taken June 5, 2012. REUTER/Waleed Fares/Handout (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Homs has become a key battleground in the Syrian conflict. — Photo Reuters

BEIRUT: Troops pounded besieged districts of the flashpoint city of Homs as 10 people were killed across Syria on Sunday, taking the weekend death toll to nearly 80, a watchdog said.

A civilian was killed in the rebel stronghold of Khalidiyeh, which, like other parts of the central city, was “being shelled and shot at by regime forces who have been trying to enter these districts for several days,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Speaking to AFP via Skype from Homs' Old City neighbourhood, activist Abu Bilal said the regime siege of several parts of the city was “suffocating.””They are shelling us all the time. There's very little food and water, and we're running out of medication.”Abu Bilal reiterated fears expressed by the opposition and rights watchdogs on Saturday that, should regime forces enter the encircled districts, people trapped in them “will be massacred.”

He added that dozens of civilians in the Old City, in central Homs, were wounded, “and many of them will die if they don't get treatment as we can't get any of the injured out.”Amateur video posted on YouTube by anti-regime activists in the surrounded Homs district of Jourat al-Shiah showed widespread destruction, deserted streets and parts of a building shelled and on fire.

“We don't have any milk for the children, nor water, nor electricity,” a woman whose house was destroyed tells the unidentified cameraman.

“We are not scared. We don't want weapons or money. We just want a way to get our children out of here,” says the mother of two.

The Observatory had reported on Saturday that more than 1,000 families were trapped in Homs, adding that there was a lack of medical staff and equipment.

Home to several rebel hideouts, Homs has been under intermittent attack by regime forces ever since its Baba Amr neighbourhood was relentlessly pounded for a month earlier this year and retaken by the regime.

Elsewhere in the country, among those killed on Sunday was a civilian shot dead by a sniper at Khan Sheikhun in the northwestern province of Idlib, the Observatory said. In the northern province of Aleppo, regime forces shelled Abyan village, killing one man, it said.

According to activist network the Local Coordination Committees, “violent shelling” of Babka village in Aleppo province led “residents to panic, and to flee.”Violence also hit other areas of Syria, including the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where clashes between regime troops and rebels killed two people, one of them a rebel fighter, the Observatory said.

In the central province of Hama — one of the first to rise up against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad — at least three regime troops were killed in fighting on Sunday morning, the monitoring group said.

In Damascus, a young man was shot dead, the watchdog added, while another was gunned down in the suburbs of the capital.

Troops and rebels clashed in Mliha village in Damascus province overnight, the Observatory said.

Forces loyal to Assad also shelled the rebel bastion of Douma, on the outskirts of the capital, for the fourth day in a row.

Sixty-nine people were killed across the country on Saturday — 51 civilians, 16 troops and two rebels — according to the Observatory which says more than 14,400 people have died in the 15-month uprising, most of them civilians.

Comments (1) (Closed)


Ali Murtaza
Jun 17, 2012 11:01am
Where are human rights groups when it comes to Iraq and Bagdad?