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Hundreds killed in Homs; wounded denied medical care: HRW

Saturday February 11, 2012 09:31:22 AM, Agencies

New York: 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 Watch.


“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.


Hani, a 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.


Hani, who 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 treatment.

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,” Neistat said.


“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.”






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Picture of the Day

New Delhi,27 Jan 2012-IGNOU Vice-Chancellor M Aslam receiving the "Best teaching practices Award" from noted film director Prakash Jha at the India Today Aspire education summit 2012,in New Delhi on Friday. Also in picture India Today Group's Rekha Puri.

(Photo: IANS/Amlan Paliwal)



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