SYRIAN TROOPS have been firing on the western city of Homs as President Assad’s government continues its violent crackdown on political dissent.
Protests erupted in the middle of March last year as protesters called for political reform and for Assad, who took power after his father President Hafez Assad died in 2000, to step down.
In December, the Arab League brokered a peace plan with Assad to end the violence, but Syria has failed to adhere to the terms of that plan and its security forces continue to target protesters. Syrian news agency SANA reports that the interior ministry has blamed armed terrorist groups for the violence, saying they were given a chance to stand down and authorities have been forced to act against them.
So what’s happening in Homs?
The violence between protesters and troops has been escalating in recent weeks, and the armed forces have particularly targeted the rebel stronghold city of Homs in an effort to quash the unrest. Hundreds of people, including children, have reportedly been killed since tanks began shelling the city last week, although death tolls are difficult to confirm because of restrictions on international media.
Graphic footage from Homs shows charred remains and body parts on the streets, and people lying crushed beneath fallen masonry. Locals have also been filmed risking their lives to pull bodies from the streets during the ongoing bombardment.
Here, a Syrian activist tells CNN that there are dead and injured trapped in buildings who cannot be removed or helped because of the danger from shelling and the shortage of medical supplies. “No one is helping us,” he says. “The UN isn’t doing anything about it, the Arab League isn’t doing anything about it”:
(Video by SooriyaHurriya)
Al Jazeera’s report of yesterday’s shelling, which contains some graphic images, shows carnage on the streets of Homs:
(Video via AlJazeeraEnglish)
This amateur footage reportedly captured in Homs city today shows several buildings going up in smoke after being fired upon:
(Video via Souria2011archives)