Day 20: Assad Forces Renew Barrage on Homs
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces bombarded opposition Sunni Muslim districts in the city of Homs for the 20th day on Thursday, activists said, despite international outrage over the reported killing of more than 80 people on Wednesday.
Rockets, artillery and mortar rounds rained on the districts of Inshaat and Baba Amro, where Free Syrian Army rebels appear to be holding their ground under heavy fire. In the Khalidiya district mosques called on inhabitants to take cover as mortar rounds started falling on the area.
“Explosions are shaking the whole of Homs. God have mercy,” Abdallah al-Hadi said from the city.
Two Western journalists were among those killed on Wednesday in an intensification of the offensive to crush resistance in Homs, one of the focal points of a nationwide uprising against Assad’s rule.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy described the deaths of the two journalists, French photographer Remi Ochlik and American Marie Colvin of Britain’s Sunday Times, as an assassination, and said the Assad era had to end.
“That’s enough now,” Sarkozy said. “This regime must go and there is no reason that Syrians don’t have the right to live their lives and choose their destiny freely. If journalists were not there, the massacres would be a lot worse.”
France and Britain demanded that three other Western journalists wounded in the strike on a house in Homs be given urgent medical care.
In the United States, Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich supported the idea of arming the Syrian opposition.