Homs under fire

Activists: Bombardment of Syria's Homs resumes

Day after forces loyal to Assad kill nearly 100 civilians, activists in Homs say mortar, artillery shells launched toward city's Bab Amro neighborhood. Assad's wife 'bridging gaps and encouraging dialogue'

Heavy bombardment of the Syrian city of Homs resumed on Tuesday after at least 95 civilians were killed on Monday in an offensive to put down a popular revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, activists and residents said.


"The bombardment is again concentrating on the Bab Amro (neighborhood). A doctor tried to get in there this morning but I heard he was wounded," Mohammad al-Hassan, an activist in Homs, told Reuters by satellite phone.


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"There is no electricity and all communication with the neighborhood has been cut," he added.


Eyewitnesses told the BBC that at around 6 am security forces loyal to Assad began launching mortar and artillery shells towards Bab Amro.


 (Photo: Reuters)

The city of Homs in Syria (Photo: Reuters)


The authorities say the military is fighting "terrorists" in Homs bent on dividing and sabotaging the country. Syria, a majority Sunni Muslim nation, has been since 1970 under the rule of the Assad family from the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.


The attack was renewed on the day Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was due to meet Assad in Damascus and discuss ways to try to end the uprising, although Moscow has vetoed a resolution against Syria at the United Nations Security Council.


Catherine al-Talli, a senior member of the opposition Syrian National Council, said the attack on Homs was aimed to show Moscow that Assad was in control and he could serve until his term expires in 2014.


"Assad needs to look strong in front of the Russians. He has not managed to control Homs since the eruption of the uprising and now that he has seen that he faces no real threat from the international community it appears that he wants to finish off the city," Talli said.


"There are live television feeds from Bab Amro and the whole world can see indiscriminate shelling of civilians. This has not stopped him."


תומכת בבעלה. בשאר ואסמה אסד (צילום: איי אף פי)

Asma Assad - supporting her husband (Photo: AFP) 


Meanwhile, the Assad's British-born wife has spoken in support of her husband for the first time since the 11-month uprising against his regime began, a British newspaper reported on Tuesday.


"The President is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the First Lady supports him in that role," The Times quoted Asma al-Assad as saying in an email sent via an intermediary from her office.


The email is her first communication with the international media since the uprising against Assad's regime began, The Times said.


"The First Lady's very busy agenda is still focused on supporting the various charities she has long been involved with and rural development as well as supporting the President as needed," the email reportedly continued.


"These days she is equally involved in bridging gaps and encouraging dialogue. She listens to and comforts the families of the victims of the violence." it added.


Reuters, AFP contributed to the report




פרסום ראשון: 02.07.12, 10:45
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