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Karam reports: "Syrian government forces pounded areas in the central province of Homs on Sunday in a renewed push to regain control of rebel-held territories, and activists said at least 38 people were killed in shelling there over the past 24 hours."

This image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network purports to show explosions in the Khaldiyeh area of Homs, Syria. (photo: AP)
This image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network purports to show explosions in the Khaldiyeh area of Homs, Syria. (photo: AP)



Syrian Forces Shell Rebels

By Zeina Karam, Associated Press

10 June 12

 

yrian government forces pounded areas in the central province of Homs on Sunday in a renewed push to regain control of rebel-held territories, and activists said at least 38 people were killed in shelling there over the past 24 hours.

The assault focused on the town of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon, where activists reported at least six people died on Sunday alone. Three others died in shelling of the town of Talbiseh, north of Homs city, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The mortars came down on Qusair by the dozens," said Abu al-Hoda, a Qusair-based activist. He said women and children have been huddled for days in basements of apartment buildings, too fearful to come out. On Saturday, 29 people died in violence across Homs, according to activists.

Also Sunday, Syrian forces unleashed a new round of heavy shelling and sent reinforcements to a mountainous area near the coastal city of Latakia where hundreds of rebels have set up base and which has also been the scene of fierce fighting in recent days.

The fighting between government troops backed by helicopter gunships and armed groups in the area of Haffa began on Tuesday. Rami Abdul-Rahman, the director of the Observatory said at least 58 soldiers have been killed and more than 200 wounded in the operation there since.

He said the heavy losses indicate the seriousness of the challenge in the mountainous area where "hundreds" of rebels are entrenched. His estimated death toll could not be independently verified.

State-run news agency SANA said "terrorist groups" in Haffa attacked public and private institutions on Saturday and committed "heinous" crimes against civilians, setting fire to the national hospital and forcing people to leave their homes. It said troops killed a number of them and arrested several others, adding it was still pursuing gunmen and working to restore security to the area.

Six children were among 10 people killed by a shell that exploded in a house where they had taken cover during the fighting in the region on Saturday, the Observatory said.

Thousands have been killed since the Syrian uprising began in March last year and activists put the toll at more than 13,000. International envoy Kofi Annan brokered a cease-fire that went into effect on April 12 but has since been violated every day by both sides of the conflict.

Armed rebels have stepped up their attacks on government troops recently, taking their fight against President Bashar Assad to the capital Damascus, which on Friday saw some of the most intense fighting since the 15-month uprising began.

In northern Syria, thousands took part Sunday in the funeral for nine people who died in reported shelling Saturday night of the town of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province.

Amateur video posted online by activists Sunday showed a large crowd taking part in the funeral procession. The victims were placed on makeshift stretchers which were carried in the streets as people chanted and mourned their death.

Meanwhile, Syria's main opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Council, elected a Kurdish dissident as its new leader at a meeting in Turkey, a council statement said.

Abdulbaset Sieda, a 56-year-old activist who has been living for many years in exile in Sweden, was the only candidate to replace liberal opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun for the three-month presidency. He was elected unanimously during an SNC meeting Saturday night in Istanbul that stretched into early hours Sunday.

The Paris-based Ghalioun presided over the council since it was created last August but recently offered to step down over mounting criticism of his leadership and repeated renewals of his three-month term. Several prominent Syrian dissidents have quit the group calling it an "autocratic" organization no better than Assad's authoritarian rule.

They also complained the group was dominated by Islamists, including the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.

The Syrian opposition has been hobbled by disorganization and infighting since the popular revolt against Assad began in March 2012. Its international backers have repeatedly appealed for the movement to pull together and work as one unit. The SNC itself has been plagued by infighting, hampering efforts by Western and Arab nations to help the opposition.

Sieda is a secular member of Syria's minority Kurd community. He is seen as a neutral, consensus figure and has said his priority would be to expand the council to include more opposition figures, particularly from Syria's religious minorities.

"Our first mission is to continue with the restructuring of the council. We will also be working on establishing and strengthening relations with the other opposition parties," he said.

His elevation to the post of SNC chief could be part of an attempt to appeal to Syria's significant Kurdish minority, which has largely stayed on the sidelines of the uprising. The community is deeply suspicious that Sunni Arabs who dominate the opposition will be no more likely to provide them greater rights than what they have had under Assad's regime.

"He is an academic. He's also well-known, a moderate man. We shouldn't claim that he has Islamic tendencies or secular tendencies. He has been approved and accepted by everyone," Abdel Hamid Al Attassi, a member of the SNC, said of Sieda.

 

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+5 # Activista 2012-06-10 09:03
"terrorist groups" in Haffa attacked public and private institutions on Saturday and committed "heinous" crimes against civilians, setting fire to the national hospital and forcing people to leave their homes. It said troops killed a number of them and arrested several others, adding it was still pursuing gunmen and working to restore security to the area"
i.e. our friends started - Syria troops defend population - check civil war in Libya ... the NEOCONS rule ...
 
 
+4 # Smiley 2012-06-10 11:27
This is the first balanced report on what is going on in Syria that I have seen.
 
 
0 # Majikman 2012-06-10 20:55
"balanced" has become a dirty and misleading word thanks to Faux "news". Try this article on for size
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31538.htm
 
 
0 # Activista 2012-06-10 22:07
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31538.htm
"the massacre occurred during this time. Those killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia minorities. Over 90% of Houla’s population are Sunnis. Several dozen members of a family were slaughtered, which had converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator. Immediately following the massacre, the perpetrators are supposed to have filmed their victims and then presented them as Sunni victims in videos posted on the internet."
 
 
+4 # Majikman 2012-06-10 12:21
"The Syrian opposition has been hobbled by disorganization and infighting since the popular revolt against Assad began in March 2012. Its international backers have repeatedly appealed for the movement to pull together..."
What about "international backers" gives you a clue as to who is fomenting the revolt? Who benefits from Assad's overthrow?
 
 
+1 # bluepilgrim 2012-06-11 01:42
see
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31340

Report: Rebels Responsible for Houla Massacre
Armed rebels murdered “entire Alawi families” in village of Taldo in Houla
by John Rosenthal
Global Research, June 10, 2012
Natural Review Online
[...]
But according to a new report in Germany’s leading daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and the bulk of the victims were member of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad. For its account of the massacre, the report cites opponents of Assad, who, however, declined to have their names appear in print out of fear of reprisals from armed opposition groups.
[...]

Also see http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31359
"Humanitarian War Criminals" in High Office: Was the Houla Massacre Ordered by the Western Military Alliance?

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
[..]

German newspaper report:
http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/neue-erkenntnisse-zu-getoeteten-von-hula-abermals-massaker-in-syrien-11776496.html
 
 
+1 # bluepilgrim 2012-06-11 01:47
Also see
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31339
BREAKING: Prime German Paper: Syrian Rebels Committed Houla Massacre
Global Research, June 10, 2012
moonofalabama.org

The prime German daily, the center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has a new report (in German) about the Houla massacre. The author is Rainer Hermann who studied and speaks Arabic, Turkish and Farsi. Hermann also has a PhD in economics and wrote his thesis about the modern Syrian social history. He currently lives in Abu Dhabi and has been reporting from the Middle East for over 22 years.

What follows is a translation of the relevant parts of his report, which is datelined from Damascus, about the Houla massacre:
Syrian opposition members who are from that region were during the last days able to reconstruct the most likely sequence of events based on accounts from authentic witnesses. Their result contradicts the pretenses from the rebels who had accused regime allied Shabiha they alleged were acting under the protection of the Syrian army. As opposition members who reject the use of lethal force were recently killed or at least threatened, the opposition members [talking to me] asked that their names be withheld.
[...]

Also http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31338
WARNING: Possible NATO-FSA False Flag Attack in Syria
[...]
 
 
0 # Activista 2012-06-11 13:27
Orchestrated lies/anti Iran war propaganda by US State Department (Hillary) for destruction of Syria - after destruction of Libya reached new high/ moral low.
 
 
+1 # RMDC 2012-06-11 12:56
Syria is fighting a REAL counter-insurge ncy war. The US boasts about its "counter-insurge ncy" wars and doctrines and acts as if counter-insurge ncy wars were some kind of holy crusade. The truth is that the US is NOT fighting counter-insurge ncy wars. It is fighting good old fashioned imperialist wars, wars of colonial suppression. Wars that are designed to kill and terrorize populations into submission, so US corporations can steal their natural resources.

Imperialists wars are always wrong, illegal, and immoral. Counter-insurge ncy wars are often legal, moral, and good. Nations have the right to defend themselves from "insurgents" when those insurgents are funded, armed, and trained by foreign nations.

Syria should be shelling rebels. That is the government's duty -- to protect the people and nation from foreign terrorists. but it would be a lot better if the UN Security Council condemned under Article 7 the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Qatar for sending proxy armies and mercenaries into Syria. Maybe they would stop. But if they don't stop, Assad has no choice but to fight them to the bitter end. USrael brought on this war, not Assad.
 

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