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Tanks Surround Homs; Two Bombs Shake Aleppo

Tanks Surround Homs; Two Bombs Shake Aleppo

Syrians demonstrated throughout their country on Friday after prayers, chanting “Russia is killing our children”; Syrians around the world also protested in support. Since last Saturday when Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, the violence and killings have only increased. The Local Coordinating Committee says that 52 people were killed on Friday. Activists estimate that 300 and even as much as 400 people have died in the past week as the regime, seemingly emboldened by Russia’s veto, has relentlessly shelled the central city of Homs.

Activists also report that tanks have been massing outside opposition neighborhoods in Homs including that of Bab Amr. The misery for residents of Homs has only increased, with reports of fast-dwindling shortages of food and medical supplies. Reporting from neighboring Lebanon, Al Jazeera‘s Rula Amin says that snipers have been shooting at those who try to help the wounded in the rubble of buildings. A report issued by Human Rights Watch said that “makeshift hospitals in besieged opposition areas were overflowing with dead and wounded” including, according to some reports, injured babies..

Deadly Bombing in Aleppo

Friday also saw violence in Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city that is home to a business community which has remained supportive of the regime throughout the eleven-month uprising and seen few protests. But on Friday at least 28 were killed and 235 wounded in two bomb blasts at two security compounds. Shortly after the attacks, images of the destruction and of disfigured, bloody corpses appeared on Syrian state television.

The Syrian regime denounced the attacks as the work of “armed terrorist gangs.” Activists have accused Assad’s government of staging the attacks which, as the Guardian notes, resemble bombings in Damascus in December and in January in the “timing of the attacks, the way they were reported, and the subsequent dispute about who is to blame.” While two spokesmen for the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) denied being responsible for the attacks, one commander initially said the FSA had instigated them; these confused claims reveal the group’s current “chaotic leadership.”

Syrian Crisis: A Failure of the United Nations?

The United Nations’ General Assembly will be discussing the crisis in Syria on Monday. UN human rights chief Navi Pillay will speak at the session; she has repeatedly stated that the Assad regime should face the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has accused the Syrian opposition as bearing “full responsibility” for the violence as it has refused to enter talks with the Syrian government. But on Friday Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah criticized Russia for supporting Assad, saying on Saudi state TV that

“There is no doubt that the confidence of the world in the United Nations has been shaken,” he said on Saudi state TV on Friday. “Unfortunately, what happened in the UN, in my opinion, is an unfavourable initiative.”:

The UN says that over 7,000 people have been killed in the eleven-month uprising. With the government tightly controlling foreign reporting from within Syria, citizen journalists have been seeking to report on the conflict using Twitter and social media sites and live video streams like this one on Bambuser.

Previous Care2 Coverage

67 Killed in Syria Today, Death Toll Rising in Homs

US Closes Its Embassy in Syria; More Deaths in Homs

BREAKING: Russia and China Veto UN Resolution on Syria

 

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Photo by te3esh

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38 comments

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6:10PM PST on Mar 2, 2012

Noted.

10:48AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

Hello Sian. Please tell me that Hotel al-Haramein is still there! That was where I stayed when I was first in Damascus. And do you know the wonderful, beautiful hidden beer garden round the corner down an alleyway where they play Om Koulthoum all night?

10:10AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

I was in Damascus in October.
The Christians there fully support Bashir Al Assad and are in no fear of their lives.
I was talking to some young men in a cafe in Souk Saruja, near the old city. They didn't seem to have any trouble talking civilly with this 'Christian' woman and indeed said it made no difference to them what religion a person was (they even mentioned buddhism) provided they were a good person.

9:26AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

Garry,

It seems that the saddest thing is if Assad is brought down, Syrian Christians will pay the heaviest price. Arab Muslims are not that far from making the Middle East Christian-free, as Christian communities that predate Islam are collapsing all over the Middle East due to horrendous persecution by Muslims.

The Egyptian Copts (Christians) are leaving in droves. By the way, the Egyptian Copts are descendents of the ancient Egyptians. Arab Muslims invaded Egypt, and Egypt is Arab-occupied. The Arabs have displaced the true Egyptians and are finishing the job by murdering, raping, forced-converting, kidnapping, burning churches and Copt homes.

ARAB MUSLIMS PERPETRATE ETHNIC CLEANSING. They yell and scream about Israel, but Muslims are doing this all over the world in far greater numbers, in far more destructive and murderous ways. They are not just a bunch of murderous thugs but some of the world's biggest hypocrites.

We should be standing with our Christian brothers who need our help, not importing more Muslims so they can third-world-ize the West.

9:15AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

Excellent point, Hilary. It's probably Kristina Chew's way to sneak an anti-Israel reference without having to write a piece on the issue.

Това е със сигурност, Тодор. Сирийските жени вероятно ще свърши като да носят hijabs, abayas, и може би дори niqabs, като резултата от всяка "революция."

John D.,

Those excerpts confirm the point. Saudi troops have only fought for issues either along their border or to support other oil states. They have to give some materiel support to Syrian Sunnis so it doesn't look like they are abandoning them altogether, however Saudis also do not want to help fight a populist rebellion that could come back to bite them in the rear in their own country.

8:20AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

In the end, the minority that will take the biggest hit will be the Christians.

2:38AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

i agree that the strife in syria seems too awful, with syrian military ordered to kill syrian civilians merely because they are protesting.

however, i am more than unimpressed at the misleading choice of photograph at the head of this story. what do australia and the palestinians have to do with what's occurring in syria?

2:38AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

From the Manchester Guardian

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30472.htm

Intervention is in fact already taking place. The Saudis and Qataris are reported to be funding and arming the opposition. The Free Syrian Army has a safe haven in Turkey. Western special forces are said to be giving military support on the ground. And if that fails, the UN can be bypassed by invoking the "responsibility to protect" civilians, along Libyan lines.

But none of that will stop the killing. It will escalate it. That is the clear lesson of last year's Nato intervention in Libya. When it began, the death toll was 1,000 to 2,000. By the time Muammar Gaddafi was captured and lynched seven months later, it was estimated at more than 10 times that figure. The legacy of foreign intervention in Libya has also been mass ethnic cleansing, torture and detention without trial, continuing armed conflict, and a western-orchestrated administration so unaccountable it resisted revealing its members' names.

2:37AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4187192,00.html

Several civilians and security forces were killed and injured in a car blast by a "terrorist group" in Homs, Syria's National TV reported.

2:36AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/capitol/foreign_troops_helping_syrian_rebels_bbuL16YbVw2x8rzGjNUfiP

DEBKAfile reports that British and Qatari special forces are in Homs, Syria working with anti-government forces .

"The foreign troops are not engaged in direct combat with the Syrian forces bombarding different parts of Syria's third largest city of 1.2 million. They are tactical advisers, manage rebel communications lines and relay their requests for arms, ammo, fighters and logistical aid to outside suppliers, mostly in Turkey," the report states.

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