Issue 9, Winter 2012
A City Full of People "Waiting to Die"
February 22 and March 2, 2012
Security forces in Syria shelled the central city
of Homs for the 19th consecutive day of a bombardment that activists
say has claimed the lives of hundreds of trapped civilians in one of the
deadliest campaigns in nearly a year of violent repression by the
government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Among the 80 people that activist groups said were killed on Wednesday, two
were Western journalists: the veteran American war correspondent Marie
Colvin, who had been working for the Sunday Times of London, and a
young French photographer, Re'mi Ochlik. The two had been working in a
makeshift news media center that was destroyed in the assault, raising
suspicions that Syrian security forces might have identified its
location by tracing satellite signals. Experts say that such tracking is
possible with sophisticated equipment.
"The world will look back in shame at the 'indiscriminate massacre' that
President Bashar al-Assad's regime is carrying out in Syria," according
to Paul Conroy, the Sunday Times photographer who was seriously
wounded in the city of Homs. Giving an emotional interview from his
hospital bed in London, Conroy compared the killing in Homs
with the Srebrenica massacre, adding that the time for talking was
Syrian forces were "systematic in moving through neighbourhoods with
munitions that are used for battlefields," he said, adding that "men,
women and children were cowering in houses and beyond shellshock." Homs was a city of "rooms full of people waiting to
die," he said: "They see nothing other than waiting for the moment the
soldiers come in or the shell comes through the door." Conroy escaped after five days of taking shelter in a building. "I came
out and the street was gone," he said. "And in every one of those houses
there were people."
Nordland, Rod and Cowell, Alan (February 22, 2012). Slaughter in Homs and no end in sight. International Herald Tribune Global Edition of the New York Times.
Titterton, Sarah (March 2, 2012). The world will look back in shame
on "indiscriminate massacre" in Homs.
February 29, 2012
More than 100 people are killed in Syria; Mrs. Assad Says All is Fine
Haaretz reported that more than 100 people, mostly civilians were killed yesterday across Syria, the majority in Homs. Opposition groups reported that 26 of the dead were in the Aba Amar section of Homs, the second largest city in Syria. Human rights groups reported that soldiers fired on the university campus in the city. Eye witnesses said that Syrian security forces and hired mercenaries battled with students in the Faculties of Dental and Electric engineering and arrested tens of students.
United Nations estimates now place the number killed in Syria at 7,500.
The newspaper Al Qutz Al Arabi reported yesterday a telephone call between the Queen of Jordan, Ranya and the wife of President Assad of Syria, Asma al-Assad. The Queen inquired into the health of Assad given the difficult events taking place, but Mrs. Assad answered surprisingly that everything is just fine in Syria and that she is concerned about the events taking place in Jordan.
Source: Hori, Jackie (February 29, 2012). About 100 are killed in Syria; The UN says to Assad: Allow Humanitarian Aid into the Country. Conflicting reports regarding the location of the reporter from Le Figaro who was wounded seriously in Homs. Haaretz Hebrew Edition.
March 6, 2012
Slaughtered Like Sheep
The London Independent reported, "Assad's troops slaughtered us like sheep, claim refugees." Refugees fleeing through farm land from Syrian government troops claim that the troops are committing war crimes against civilians in Homs, slitting the throats of children and 'slaughtering their victims like sheep.'
Some of the 2000 refugees who have fled across the border to Lebanon have told the BBC that "young children who had remained in Baba Amar had their throats cut by advancing troops." There were also reports of the Syrian government torturing patients in Syrian government hospitals. The UK Channel 4 News reported based on film footage smuggled out of Syria the testimony of a medical worker that government troops go into the hospital wards and "twist the feet until the leg breaks."
Source: Beach, Alistair and Litchfield, John (March 6, 2012). Assad's troops slaughtered us like sheep claim refugees. London Independent.
March 13, 2012
Syrian Government Claims It Is Fighting Terrorists
Syrian opposition activist said on March 12 that government soldiers and thugs rounded up scores of civilians in homes overnight assaulting men and women, killed dozens of them, including children and set bodies on fire.
Syria denied responsibility. The government attributed the killing to "terrorist armed groups" as it routinely characterizes all opposition including deserters from its own army as well as protestor from the civilian population.
The New York Times reported that an activist in Homs counted dozens of bodies including women and children. The informant said that armed men in civilian clothes as well as military uniforms killed members of nine families and burned their houses.
Source: Bernard, Anne (March 13, 2012). New phase of violence is reported in Syrian city. (Reporting from Beirut) International Herald Tribune Global Edition of the New York Times