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Syrian Activists Describe Massacre in Homs

Syrian Activists Describe Massacre in Homs

Over 200 people have been killed in the city of Homs, an epicenter of anti-government protests, in an attack that began late Friday night. Security forces seeking to regain control of the city shelled its Khalidya district with tanks and mortars and women and children were among the dead, says the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.  The Syrian government has denied attacking and dismissed activists’ claims as propaganda, says the BBC.

The black and white contrast in activists’ accounts and the Syrian regime’s claims has been going on since the uprising started almost eleven months ago. Death tolls between 217 and 260 have been reported and are not possible to confirm, due to Syria forbidding foreign journalists to report from the country. But the death toll in Homs is the deadliest yet. Over 5,400 have been killed since the uprising began last March according to the United Nations; the Syrian government has emphasized that over 2,000 soldiers have died.

President Barack Obama has issued a forceful statement about the violence in Syria, says Politico:

I strongly condemn the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs and I offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones. Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now.  He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately.

On Saturday morning, the United Nations Security Council is expected to meet to vote on a resolution demanding that President Bashar al-Assad step down and transfer power to a unity government. Western and Arab nations have been calling for Assad to go, but Russia, which holds a permanent seat on the Security Council and is a long-time ally of Syria, has indicated that it will veto any such request. French foreign minister Alain Juppé described the massacre in Homs as a “crime against humanity,” while the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that calling for Assad’s ouster would occasion “another scandal at the security council.”

Protesters stormed the Syrian embassy in Cairo and demonstrations also broke out in Britain, Germany and the United States. In London, people threw stones and smashed the windows of the Syrian embassy and six people were arrested; people in Washington, D.C., shouted “Syria soon will be free.”

The capital of Damascus, which was relatively free of protests and unrest until December when two car bombs exploded, has started to feel the effects of the uprising. Electricity is being rationed and people are stocking up on milk, rice, sugar, cooking oil and drinking water. Prices have risen as much as three times as they were a year ago. 60-year-old Abu Omar, a shopkeeper, told the New York Times of searching for hours with his son for bread, only to find none in stores:

“Pretty soon we will start demonstrating against poverty and not politics. The people are very angry at the government. We can live without electricity and gas, but we can’t live without bread.”

Previous Care2 Coverage

Will Russia Veto a UN Security Council Resolution On Syria?

UN Drafting Resolution For Assad to Step Down

US Considers Closing Embassy in Syria

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32 comments

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10:11AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

It's unbelievable that Russia and China are against the UN taking measurers against the Dictator in Syria!!!

4:37AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Thanks for the article.

11:53AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

this has got to stop down there!! why doesn't anyone in the UN do something about it? Like in other countries of the middle east.... or isn't there enough petrol in the area???!!!!

4:26AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

The Arab League needs to step forward and take a more active role in trrying to put a stop to this. The US is in no position to apply pressure but should back up constructive efforts to resolve this horrific violence.

3:06AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Shame on Russia and China for vetoing a solution in the UN.

10:40PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Perhaps we should worry about this closer to home?

9:49PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Only 25 comments so far? If Israel killed one civilian, there would be 100 angry comments by now.

6:28PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

When will it stop? Haven't enough people died already. This is just crazy.

3:09PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Recently I came across an editorial about Syria and by the time I had finished I was so upset due to the Syrian Army murdering a family of eleven, from memory. The family consisted of five women, a male and five children. Just the thought of those children just broke my heart when I read about how the Syrian Army had slaughtered them.

What angered me was after the deed was done and on leaving the house the murderers had a back-up to protect them from possible danger. These men are so-called soldiers that in my estimation are cowards, to kill children they way they did and the rest of the family. So many people are dying when they shouldn't have too. Maybe it is time that Bashir al Assad was ousted just for the sake of the people. No more unrest and slaughter of the innocents.

1:58PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

OMG, another excuse to go to war against another country having problems. Obama has the nerve to lecture to another leader in another country when he is the leader of a country that is doing the same thing, just not to the same extent. Our civil rights are being eliminated on a daily basis and Obama gave the go ahead for drones to attack American civilians here in the US. What nerve!

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