Since February 3, 2012, the attacks have killed more than 300
persons in Homs city of Syria and wounded hundreds others, including women
and children, Human Rights Watch quoting Syrian monitoring groups
said in its report released February 09.
No adequate medical assistance is
available to the victims due to a blockade of the city by
government forces and fear of arrest if treated at
government-controlled hospitals, it said urging the Syrian government
to stop its shelling of
residential neighborhoods in the city of Homs.
"Government troops have fired hundreds of “shells and
mortars” into populated neighborhoods. Videos and photos of the
attacks, reviewed by Human Rights Watch’s arms experts, and
accounts from international journalists on the ground, confirm
that government forces launched long-range indirect fire attacks
into densely populated areas", the report said.
“This brutal assault on residential neighborhoods shows the Syrian
authorities’ contempt for the lives of their citizens in Homs,”
said Anna Neistat, associate emergencies director at Human Rights
“Those responsible for such horrific
attacks will have to answer for them", she added.
Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that government forces launched
large-scale attacks, involving shelling and rockets, on several
neighborhoods in Homs on the evening of February 3.
witness from the Bab Amro neighborhood, said that security forces
manning nearby checkpoints and positioned on rooftops first opened
fire on a protest near Al-Zahire mosque at around 6 pm, and
shortly thereafter started shelling the neighborhood.
sustained bullet wounds to his left shoulder and right leg in the
attack, said that Syrian forces fired rockets from the west and
from the direction of Homs University dorms located to the
south-east of Bab `Amro.
Another witness, Wasim, who spoke to Human Rights Watch from Tel
al-Shoghour area, located close to Bab Amro, said that the
shelling of Bab Amro originated from neighboring areas considered
to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The fire,
according to Wasim, also came from the Homs University dorms,
about 1,500 meters south-east of Bab Amro; and Insha’at
neighborhood, north of Bab Amro.
Since then, according to witnesses, the intensive shelling
continued unabated, targeting Khalidiyya, Bayyada, Naziheen, Rifai
and Bab `Amro neighborhoods in and around Homs. “Khaled”, who
spoke to Human Rights Watch from Insha’at neighborhood in Homs
said that, judging by the fragments of ammunition, the government
forces used mortars and Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon
systems. He confirmed that some of the attacks came from the
direction of the Homs University dorms (about 3km south of
Khalidiyya), taken over by the Syrian security forces.
Indiscriminate shelling of populated areas which results in
multiple civilian casualties constitutes a serious human rights
violation. The situation is aggravated by the blockade of the
areas under attack which prevents the residents, included those
wounded by the attacks, from getting access to food and medical
The Syrian government launched the attacks as the United Nations
Security Council debated a resolution condemning Syria’s
10-month-long crackdown on anti-government protesters. In a widely
criticized move, Russia and China vetoed the resolution on
February 4, blocking the Security Council from taking action on
the crisis in Syria.
“It is clear the Syrian government has interpreted the
Russia-China veto as a carte blanche to launch an all-out assault
on cities like Homs without caring who’s killed in the process,”
“Russia and China now have a
particular responsibility to force the Syrian government to end
its onslaught. If they can’t do that, they should stop obstructing
Security Council action.”