Opposition: Syrian Forces Pummel Homs From the Sky
Government helicopters pounded the besieged city of Homs from the sky, opposition activists said Sunday, three days after a so-called cease-fire in Syria.
In addition, “one bomb is being shelled every 10 minutes from the military academy, aiming at al-Wair neighborhood in Homs,” said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists.
At least two people were killed Sunday in Homs, said the Syrian Network for Human Rights, another opposition group. Two others died in Aleppo on Sunday, a day after they were injured when regime forces opened fire at a funeral procession, the group said.
Across the country, security forces also stormed the city of Buqros, in the eastern Deir Ezzor province, and carried out a wave of random arrests, the LCC said.
The latest reports of violence came three days after a deadline to stop the bloodshed and one day after the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to authorize unarmed observers to travel to Syria to monitor the shaky cease-fire.
The team will be dispatched “as soon as possible,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday.
The 15-member council approved the deployment of an advance team of 30 monitors meant to pave the way for a larger group of up to 250 observers, calling on Syria to provide them unimpeded freedom of movement.
That second deployment, however, first rests on how the cease-fire holds and whether discussions between Syria and U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan can make headway to quell the bloodshed.
Still, the resolution marks the Security Council’s first on Syria since the conflict gripping the country broke out more than a year ago.
Though critics called the move underwhelming, the U.N. ambassador from Russia — whose country has previously blocked the council’s resolutions — reminded those strident for action in Syria that the text requires all sides to put down their weapons.
Homs, Syria, under a shaky cease-fire Deaths amid fragile Syria cease-fire Protests test Syria’s cease-fire Blair: No confidence in what Syria says
“There have been too many casualties, too much suffering to befall the Syrian people,” Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.
He also said that his government has been discouraged by a lack of objective information and has called on Syria to allow in international journalists.
Until Saturday, Russia and China — which both have major trade ties with Syria — had blocked Security Council attempts to pass resolutions condemning the government of President Bashar al-Assad. While the two countries have said they want an end to the violence, both have argued that previous resolutions were not even-handed.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice welcomed Saturday’s long-awaited resolution, but said the United States was “under no illusions” about its immediate effect.