Skip to comments.60 civilians killed as Syrian forces pound Homs
Posted on 02/22/2012 6:28:04 AM PST by nuconvert
Syrian government forces killed more than 60 people on Tuesday in assaults on villages and an artillery barrage in the restive city of Homs, activists said, and the Red Cross called for daily ceasefires to let in urgently needed aid.
Activists said at least 30 people died in the bombardment of the Baba Amro, neighbourhood of Homs city, and at least 33 were killed when forces trying to crush opposition to President Bashar al-Assad stormed villages in northern Idlib province.
In Damascus, security forces opened fire on demonstrators overnight, wounding at least four, activists said. Violence has hit the capital over the past week, undermining Assad's assertion that the 11-month-old uprising against his rule is limited to the provinces and the work of saboteurs.
Activist accounts of the violence could not be confirmed. The government bars most foreign journalists from Syria.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Jakob Kellenberger said, "It should last at least two hours every day, so that ICRC staff and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have enough time to deliver aid and evacuate the wounded and the sick."
Western and Arab powers that are openly seeking Assad's downfall are preparing for the inaugural meeting of a "Friends of Syria" contact group in Tunisia on Friday.
Russia and China back Assad's own programme for reforms, which includes plans for a referendum on Sunday on a new constitution that would lead to elections in 90 days. Assad said this should satisfy demands for more democracy; his opponents said the proposals were a sham.
Russia said it would not attend the "Friends of Syria" meeting because the Syrian government would not be represented. The Russian Foreign Ministry suggested the UN Security Council should send a special humanitarian envoy to Syria.
Russia and China have faced Western and Arab criticism for blocking UN action against Syria. A former Syrian Defence Ministry auditor who defected in January told Reuters Moscow's arms sales to Damascus - nearly $1 billion last year - had increased since the start of the uprising.
Lebanon, which has tried to distance itself from the turmoil across its border, will also stay away from the Tunis meeting, its foreign minister said.
Activists said government forces launched the artillery attack on Homs after rebel fighters holding the opposition Baba Amro district blocked troops from entering. "Several shells are falling each minute," activist Nader al-Husseini told Reuters from the district, adding that at least two children were among the victims.
Another activist in the city said, "We have now at least 30 killed. One family is among them."
A third said, "Others are still buried. Today the shelling is very fierce."
The British-based opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces had stormed villages in Idlib province in the north of the country.
"The army stormed the village of Abdita and chased people in Iblin and Balshoon. They killed 33 people. All are civilians," the group said.
Activists in Homs said government forces backed by armour have been closing in on Baba Amro, a mainly Sunni neighbourhood, since the offensive on the city began on February 3.
Much of the opposition to Assad comes from the Sunni majority, while much of his support comes from minorities, including his Alawite sect, raising worries that violence could take on a sectarian slant and draw in neighbouring countries.
Tanks are deployed in the Inshaat district next to Baba Amro, opposition sources said. The Observatory said a convoy of more than 50 armoured vehicles was seen heading from Damascus towards Homs. A city of one million people on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, Homs has been at the heart of the uprising against Assad's 11-year rule. Residents say they are running short of medicine and food, and are massed together in crowded homes to seek shelter.
Seems to be a near total absence of counter battery fire on the part of the resistance. A shortage (or non use) of RPGs. Without such, the “revolution” is over.
The Russians & Iranians are arming Assad. So, unless the resistance gets help, (& it doesn’t look like they will) it’s going to be over soon.
The White House is stalling, hoping it’s over soon so they don’t have to get involved.
You call it a town, but it’s the 3rd largest city in Syria, with a population of about 1 million people.
Your comparisons are ridiculous.
There haven’t been any aerial attacks and no one has reported that there have been (with the exception of some helicopter gun ships shooting at people).
btw - the 60 killed were in one day, not weeks.
Not our problem!!!!
They badly need anti-tank weaponry. If they could start taking the tanks out, this thing could turn. Until then, it’s an uphill fight.
The White House won’t step in this time because those fighting are actually REAL “Freedom fighters” and NOT a planned overthrow by the Muslim Brotherhood. THAT’s why Obama will not even say one word about this. His blind-eye is already turned on these people as they actually believed the propaganda of the “Arab Spring” narrative, naively believing Obama’s administration would actually HELP them rid themselves of Assad and his government.
I believe this “revolution” is already over - much like all of the attempted resistance movements among the Iranian people over the last few years. Like you and others have pointed out, the Syrian Gov’t is being armed by Russia and Iran - both obviously have a vested interest in Assad’s admin. remaining in power. These people are unfortunately “on their own” with the exception of God Himself. The only thing the rest of us can do now is pray for the innocent and good among them, frankly. I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like knowing your own government is the one shelling your city...
Pretty soon they will be as dangerous as Chicago or Detroit in murders...
Not to support Assad but isn’t this the city where the uprising is based? Did they somehow think Assad wouldn’t shell them ? They knew what they’d be facing when they began this...and I suspect anticipated a similar result of the UN sending in forces to assist them. But it so far hasn’t played out that way....Syria has always been Irans arm and the people there know that. I am saddened for the loss of life but I cannot see those who began this uprising as taking into consideration the cost even though they knew how Assad plays these uprising out. So they hold as much responsibility as Assad for these deaths. IMO
As many have mentioned Syria is not Libya.....the differences are huge and results if UN gets into the fray are hurrendous. Especially with Russia and China boosting Assads military. This no doubt could lead to a third world war if this cannot be settled diplomatically.
You’re right. I combined the weeks in your 1st post with days in the 2nd.
And your point is what? That thousands haven’t been killed in Syria and things aren’t so bad?
Nations are simply pawns on the game table of the powers that be....while they fight those leaders barter for how each shall gain by who they defend. It's more than sad that people are dispensible but it is unfortunately the price when "freedom" is as is said...never "free".
This is not going to play out well by any stretch of the imagination.
“The press is making it sound worse than it is ...”
How do you know? Are you following all the internet & youtube posts of what’s happening there?
And how do you know what percentage of the people fighting Assad are Muslim Brotherhood? No one else knows. How do you know that the majority of people being killed aren’t ordinary people with women & childen, trying to survive?
Is it okay with you that Assad targets journalists?
Is anyone who is muslim your enemy?
“Is anyone who is muslim your enemy?”
“Only those who say up front that they are.”
You said “When thousands of my enemies are killed by each other, no it isn’t that bad.”
How do know the thousands killed are your enemy?
Yes, I see a pattern of MB opportunism.
Your answer to it is what? Let Assad slaughter whoever he wants to?
“Your answer to it is what? Let Assad slaughter whoever he wants to?”
I know I’m butting in, but GonzoGOP is correct, this has nothing to do with the United States. We have no interests in Syria to warrant intervention. Feeling bad for innocent civilians is natural, but such anger should be directed at those responsible, not as justification for sending someone else’s kids to war. Not there. Not this time. Blame Assad, not a lack of US intervention.
Anyone who feels strongly can go join the Free Syria opposition or donate $$, but leave our armed forces out of it. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, they’re engaged elsewhere.
British press now seems to be of the opinion the Assad Regime deliberately targeted the journalists. This may be the straw that broke the camels back in terms of NATO intervention. The brothers Assad may have gone a “bridge too far” on this one. The next 48-72 hours are critical...
Would add-Edith Bouvier, a French journalist is in critical condition in a makeshift hospital. Attempts to get to her are being made. France announced it is holding Syria responsible. Whatever that means in terms of response...
Then again, neither is the tanker load of oil that Chavez just off loaded in Syria. Although he says it is.
If need be, Brits will use SAS/Omani SF as they did in Libya. France will use the French Foreign Legion, many of whom come from ME countries. Plausible deniability and all that. "Sheep-dipped" if necessary.
Not saying I am in favor of such. Merely saying this is what could happen. Next 72 hours or so are critical...
75% of Egyptian voters chose Islamist parties. The parts of the 75% that did not choose the Muslim Brotherhood chose the Salafist party. If Egyptians aren't Islamists, I have to wonder what % would be required before we called them Islamists. Note a Pew survey showed that 90% of Egyptians agree with making apostasy a capital offence. The only American-style party in Egypt got 2% of the vote.
We know from Western reporting on Israeli retaliation against Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas that our journos have a special affection for enemies of the West in general, and Sunnis and Islamists specifically. I wouldn't doubt that they're lying through their teeth.
Actually, the Wahhabist scum are hoping that we'll pay to win the war for their Sunni brethren. The Saudis could spend tens of billions to do the job right, but why pay when Uncle Sam will do it for free?
It's hard to think of an instance where Sunnis have not targeted non-combatants, whereas the list of large-scale Sunni atrocities goes all the way back to Muhammad.
You are right. In the early 80's, Assad pere battered Hama with tanks and artillery over the course of a month and killed 30,000.
“How do know the thousands killed are your enemy?”
“How do you know they are not?”
“As for it being just opportunism, once is an accident, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.”
I call MB opportunists, because they didn’t start the protests. The young people, bloggers, people really wanting an end to the regime and a more democratic gov’t started the protests. The MB seizes the opportunity to get involved and they become part of the protests and eventually with leadership backing, they take it over. This is what has happened time & time again. The majority of those arrested, beaten & killed in the beginning, are not MB. Yes, some are killed, but Assad is attacking and shelling peoples’ homes indiscrimantely, so there again, it isn’t just MB being killed. He is killing people trying to flee with their families.
“Your answer to it is what? Let Assad slaughter whoever he wants to?”
“And what is yours? Send in US troops?”
No. I don’t want to send in troops. I want to demand that Assad stop the killing. If he doesn’t stop immediately, he’s a target for extermination without warning. Hit his palace, whatever. When he’s dead, his army will fall apart.
Allowing this genocide to go on, makes us look weak to the entire world, and encourages more of the same slaughter elsewhere, because the ruling gov’t knows that no one will step in to stop it.
It’s as shameful to sit by and watch this, as it was to sit and watch Rwanda.
This may be the straw that broke the camels back in terms of NATO intervention. The brothers Assad may have gone a bridge too far on this one.
Unfortunately, I doubt it.
This morning, the Russians & Iranians are telling us to stay out of it. They are calling for no foreign intervention... Ha - except them, of course.
And it looks like we are going to comply.
Although the murder of 2 (maybe 3) journalists does not rise to the above incidents, we can only wonder what NATO is thinking. France has a long history with Syria. And if Assad gets away with this, will he be embolden to crush all resistance?
“Obama/NATO may be looking for a pretext.”
The targeting of journalists should be enough of one.
Maybe they’re waiting for the razing of a school filled with children?
“will he be embolden to crush all resistance? “
He’s already doing that
Certainly what he is doing is brutal, but not all out like his daddy did at Hama in the 80s. Baby Assad still have a large inventory of weaponry yet to be employed. Surprised they have not as yet used it, since the Russian envoy basically told Assad two weeks ago to git ‘er done!
“I wouldn’t doubt that they’re lying through their teeth.”
I would not be surprised at all. I think that’s Gonzo’s point as well. “Sustained” artillery barrages like journalists are describing are incredibly destructive. I’d be curious to see a picture of the supposedly shelled out city.
If the MB takes over it is quite likely the substantial Christian minority in Syria will be brutalized and murdered as the Copts are now being brutalized in Eqypt.
Tell me again why that is so preferable to Assad remaining in power?
I’m with GonzoGOP - we don’t have a dog in this fight and should stay out, absent something I am missing. No one has been able to convince me otherwise, and it sure doesn’t seem to be happening in this thread.
Why does it matter if it’s “sustained” or not? Isn’t it bad enough that they’re shelling people’s homes at all?
You seem to have missed the point, as you have been all thread.
People are going to be killed or brutalized there no matter who is in power. It’s just ugly, no one likes it, but many parts of the world are ugly. We are not going to go in and rebuild their society from the ground up similar to what we did in Germany and Japan post-WWII. If we aren’t going to crush them and remake their world from the ground up, we need to stay out.
I am not much of pray-er, but the Serenity Prayer applies here:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
What makes you think we can change things there? Our wonderful success at “nation building” in Afghanistan after 10 years? Something else?
Again, you really haven’t made an argument here other than “it is terrible, we should DO SOMETHING!”
No, we should not, absent a really good reason, which so far is absent.
No, you have missed the point.
“it is terrible, we should DO SOMETHING!”
“No, we should not, absent a really good reason, which so far is absent.”
The really good reason is, we are AMERICANS. We shouldn’t just stand by and watch a dictator kill & brutalize his people. The rest of the world sits and watches. America is the greatest country in the world. We try to help - that’s who we are.
When the result on the back side is that the new regime will also brutalize the people, what is the point?
See: Libya, Egypt, Tunisia for examples.
“Why does it matter if its sustained or not?”
Because it speaks to the point that reporters may be mischaracterizing what is going on like they often mischaracterize what is happening. Haven’t you been reading the thread posts?
The fact that you care for the innocent is commendable. However, I could rattle off any number of conflicts in the world where innocent civilians are being slaughtered. Nobody seems to care too much about them.
The take home point is that this conflict is not the Untied States’ business. Like I mentioned before, if you feel so strongly, you are free to join the Free Syrian resistance or donate $$ to salve your bleeding heart. Leave me and my kids out of it.
Also, off Algezeera, several reports of heavy fighting in Homs. Several of Assad's tanks burning. Much small arms fire.
Who the heck is asking you & your kids to get involved?
“Sarkozy is now calling it an “assassination.”
Good. Cuz that’s what it sounds like it was.
Thanks for the updates
“Who the heck is asking you & your kids to get involved?”
It sounds to me like you are either a young kid or being intentionally obtuse (I vote the latter).
“Exterminating” heads of state, as you called for, doesn’t just happen magically. It involves (American) military personel risking their lives. My kids are serving.
How about you? What are you doing to serve? Are you just a bunch of talk about how ‘we have to do something’ or do you lead by example?
For the 3rd time, the Free Syrian Resistance is taking volunteers. If you feel so strongly you should show some leadership and join.
Exterminating heads of state, as you called for, doesnt just happen magically. It involves (American) military personel risking their lives.”
No, it doesn’t.
I have family who’ve served and a wonderful young man who would have been a nephew who was killed in Afghanistan, thanx for asking.
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