'Terrifying explosions' in Syria's Homs

2012-02-23 12:01

Beirut - Syrian regime forces pounded rebel districts of the flashpoint central city of Homs for a 20th straight day on Thursday, a watchdog said, as activists spoke of "terrifying explosions".

The neighbourhood of "Baba Amr, as well as parts of Inshaat have been shelled since 07:00, while mortar rounds slammed into the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood", the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.

The bombardment came a day after heavy shelling of Baba Amr, under siege since February 4, killed dozens of people, including two Western journalists.

"We hear terrifying explosions," said activist Hadi Abdullah.

Abdullah, a member of the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution, said that the international outcry over Wednesday's deaths appeared only to have strengthened the regime's determination to eliminate all opposition in the city - Syria's third largest.

"The more the condemnations pile on, the heavier the bombing becomes," he said.

Transmission signal intercepted

Abdullah said there was evidence that the makeshift media centre where the two journalists were killed and two others wounded was deliberately targeted by regime forces.

"We are sure that the centre was targeted, because 11 rockets struck in and around it," he said.

"The regime forces intercepted a transmission signal," he added.

Abdullah said that communications between activists had been almost completely cut.

"Today, we couldn't get in touch with around a dozen activists, not by Skype nor by Thuraya [satellite phone]," he said.

Veteran American journalist Marie Colvin, who reported for London's Sunday Times, and French freelance photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed in Wednesday's bombardment of Baba Amr, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said.

French newspaper Le Figaro said one of its reporters, Edith Bouvier, was wounded in the legs. Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Sunday Times, said one of the paper's photojournalists, Paul Conroy, was also injured.

More than 7 600 people have been killed in violence since protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad erupted in March last year, according to Syrian Observatory figures.

  • Anthony - 2012-02-23 14:02

    What these people, including women and children must be going through!! All for a bunch of criminal thugs to stay in power !! To hell with Russia and China. Both don't now how to spell the words " Morals and Decency "

  • Fred - 2012-02-23 14:21

    I feel so hollow for the Syrian people, without real help from the world. How alone must they be feeling. Assad and his cronies are inhuman. Their downfall is among the highest priority facing humankind. All Russian and Chinese people wherever you are, hang your heads in shame and rise up against your governments. Disgusting, heartless and shameful.

  • Ross - 2012-02-23 15:45

    Funny - If America help, they are after the oil. If they don't, these people kill their own people!

      Anthony - 2012-02-23 16:42

      @Ross, There is NOTHING funny about Syria, and for your info, the USA does not get any of its oil from Libya !!!!

  • nowicki1 - 2012-02-23 17:07

    "Terrifying explosions" - In a conflict zone? yitte ..

      Fred - 2012-02-23 19:39

      Another emotionally detached, insensitive, young comment from you Matthew. I wonder how the people, the women and children FEEL about what you write here. I can only imagine.

      Fred - 2012-02-23 21:41

      Patrick, destroy the country totally? Another silly comment. The vast, vast majority of civilian deaths in Iraq have been caused by Al-Quaeda and the Taliban who the leaders of which program impressionable younger people to kill themselves and kill countless civilians at the same time. They are the true heathens you speak of, just you've blinded yourself so you can't see this. In Libya, the so-called West (which was not the West at all but Nato, which includes Turkey, its second-largest member with 73 million Muslims, initiated by the Arab League representing up to 350 million Muslims of the Middle East) targeted the madman Gaddafi's military installations and resources which he was using to kill, maim, torture and rape thousands upon thousands of Libyans who wanted nothing but the human right to vote and have greater freedom. These military installations and resources, by the way, belonged to the Libyan people, not Gaddafi. Countries are not personal fiefdoms to be handed down to sons (not daughters, take note) by unelected, despotic leaders.

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