Day 300 for siege of Syria's Homs

2013-04-07 17:10
Destruction in the Baba Amr neighbourhood of the central Syrian city of Homs. (Sarkis Kassarjian, AFP)

Destruction in the Baba Amr neighbourhood of the central Syrian city of Homs. (Sarkis Kassarjian, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - A siege of Syria's central city of Homs entered its 300th day on Sunday, as troops loyal to President Bashar Assad wage a campaign to oust rebel groups holed up there, the opposition said.

"Three hundred days have gone by since the start of the siege of the heroic city of Homs, capital and beating heart of the Syrian revolution," the Syrian National Council, a key component of the main opposition National Coalition, said.

Homs, the country's third largest city, was one of the first to join the anti-Assad revolt that began two years ago with peaceful protests but morphed into a bloody insurgency after a fierce regime crackdown on dissent.

Today, some 80% of the city is under tight army control, and troops use tanks, helicopters and other warplanes to bombard besieged rebel enclaves.

The army and security forces began the siege in June 2012, setting up checkpoints all around the rebel-held districts.

Daily battles rage on the edges of the insurgent neighbourhoods, and on Sunday, the army pounded the districts of Khaldiyeh, Qarabis, Qussour and Juret al-Shiyah.

"Three hundred days have gone by while the world has looked on... with all kinds of war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed in this city," the SNC said in a statement.

"Schools and hospitals have been destroyed, water and electricity have been cut off, as have communications and food supply... Civilians are deprived of medicine and treatment," the opposition group added.

Activist Abu Bilal spoke to AFP via the internet about life in a city under siege.

"This morning I attended the burial of a friend of mine, who had two children. When I was on my way back from the burial, I was told of the death of another friend. That's our daily reality. Every day there's death around us," he said from the besieged heart of Homs.

Sectarian cleansing

"A friend of mine, a rebel fighter, was abandoned by his fiancée because she could no longer wait for the siege to end. She married someone else. He says his heartbreak is worse than the siege itself," said Abu Bilal.

But some residents have found ways of coping.

"Some people are using their mobile phones to send photos to relatives who are outside the siege," he added.

The SNC, meanwhile, denounced "the policy of sectarian cleansing" practised by Assad's ruling minority Alawite clan against the Sunni population in Homs.

The majority of Syria's rebels are Sunnis, as is the population, and sectarian hatred has increased as the violence has grown steadily worse.

Homs is a strategic junction, linking Damascus to the majority Alawite coastline.

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  syria

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.