Warning of looming Homs massacre

2012-06-16 18:22

Beirut - The Syrian opposition warned on Saturday of a looming massacre in the central city of Homs, which it said is besieged by 30,000 troops and pro-regime militiamen.

"Regime forces are escalating their shelling of the city of Homs in an unprecedented way," said the Syrian National Council, adding troops were "getting ready to carry out a savage attack that might massacre the city's remaining residents."

The SNC had contacted members of the so-called Friends of Syria group, asking them to "stop the massacre that is being prepared," said the statement from the exiled opposition bloc.

It asked the United Nations Security Council to "protect Homs and other areas of Syria that are targeted" by regime forces.

The SNC also "warned the UN and members of the Security Council of the dangers of remaining silent and of the lack of coercive measures while genocide and crimes against humanity are being committed."

The regime, it added, was "taking advantage of the international divide" over the Syria crisis, and was getting "the time it wants" in order to stamp out the revolt that broke out in March last year.

Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 1 000 families were trapped in several neighbourhoods of Homs and under bombardment by regime forces on Saturday.

"More than 1 000 families, including women and children," are trapped in the Khalidiyeh, Jourat al-Shiah, Qarabees, old Homs and Qusour areas.

"They have no food and no medical equipment," the watchdog's Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

In a statement, the Observatory sent out an "urgent call" to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "and all those with a sense of humanity to intervene immediately, in order to put a stop to the continuous shelling."

The Britain-based NGO also called for the "evacuation and protection of dozens of injured".