Sunday, March 4, 2012

Homs Continues to be Assaulted

The Syrian army has reinforced its assault against Homs, specifically the Baba Amr area, which the government has pledged to "cleanse". Rastan and other cities are under direct attack as well. For the most part the Syrian government is still relying on artillery to do the work for them, but in some cases tanks and infantry have been sent in as well.

Abu Hassan al-Homsi, a doctor in Khaldiyeh, stated that treating people for mortar wounds has become routine, as they start to fall each morning and last through the day. Another resident, afraid to give a name, said, "We are collecting rain and snow water, and cutting trees to burn to warm ourselves."

The Red Cross had received permission to enter Baba Amr, but their convoy of humanitarian aid, has not been allowed to enter. The military says they can not guarantee their safety, and will not let them go in, til they can do so. Sue Turton tells Al Jazeera that, "There have been reports that some sort of government clean-up operation is going on, rounding up men older than 14. There have been reports of imprisonment, torture and even executions [of opposition fighters], and they don't want the ICRC or independent people there, to witness this."

Meanwhile China, and other countries, are still attempting to find a diplomatic way to end the violence. But China joined Russia in vetoing a UN resolution, worrying that it allowed for international intervention. "China does not approve of armed interference or pushing for 'regime change' in Syria and believes that use or threat of sanctions does not help to resolve the issue.'' In a joint press conference, Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Giulio Terzi, foreign minister of Italy, compared the violence to that of the 1990's Balkans wars, declaring Assad's government to be guilty of war crimes.