Syria, activists in Homs are in the crosshairs, together with doctors and dissident reporters.

Posted: 06/11/2012 by editormary in Grassroots Activism, Human Rights, Middle East, People's Movements / Struggles, Syria, War

Syrian Red Crescent Volunteers, arrested, tortured, killed. And this is only part of the horror of what is going on in Homs under siege

To eliminate doctors and dissident reporters seems to be the prime objective of the Syrian army. There has been no further news on the whereabouts of Jihad Hakmi, volunteer of the Red Crescent in Homs, which since Saturday has been under heavy shelling as well as the helicopters of Damascus resuming their bombing of the city. The activists, in contact with the Italian Syrian community, have asked for the urgent intervention of organisations for human rights and have expressed the fear that the man is being held in conditions of extreme duress and may be subject to torture.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent, in the meantime, has decided to suspend its activities in various parts of the country, affirming that it has not received protection from the Syrian government which instead is obligated to allow it to carry out all of its interventions in safety. The regime, which considers the organisation “not trustworthy” and “not neutral” has already killed, according to the activists, some of its volunteers, Alhakam Darq Sbaie and Abd-al-Razzaq Jbeiro, Mohammed Khadra, Murad Khoury and Adnan Wahbe, and is holding another volunteer doctor, Mohamad Nour Audi prisoner in an unknown place. The volunteer Ahmed Atfeh, who was imprisoned, has been freed.

The artillery of Bashar Assad continues to kill also in the world of information. The latest victim on the front of citizen journalism, referred by the Syrian community in Italy, is Khaled Ibrahim Albakr, known on the web as “Abu Suleiman”.  Ibrahim Alkbar, who the spokesman for the Homs dissidents Hadi Alabdallah has informed us, was killed yesterday at Al Qusair under the shelling “while he was recording the battle to liberate the place of death, that hated checkpoint from where day and night the snipers shoot at unarmed civilians and the regime troops have been bombing the city.”

Abu Suleiman, as affirmed by sources of the opposition, was one of the founders of the independent information network of Baba Amr, from where Ali Othman, who has been held prisoner for more than three months in the prisons of Bashar Assad, from when he helped the photojournalist Paul Conroy leave a Homs under siege after having watched Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, other journalists, die before his very eyes. Nothing is known of the whereabouts of Ali Othman, for whom London has asked for his immediate release, since the interview-interrogation that aired in early May.


Helicopters of Syrian aviation forces are bombing the Homs area. A spokesman of the UN Observers in Syria had made known. “We report of violent battles in Rastan and Talbiseh, north of Homs, which see the heavy use of artillery and bombardment from helicopters”, said Sausan Ghosheh. It is the first time that the UN confirms what has already been reported by the Syrian rebels, that is, the use of aviation by the regime’s armed forces.

The director of the BBC’s Middle East Desk, Paul Danahar, who this morning visited the city together with a team of UN Observers, affirmed that the armed forces of the Syrian government are utilising drones to individuate the objectives they will bomb. According to the British network, falling over the city is a bomb each minute. The situation in Homs has been dramatic since Saturday, the dissidents affirm. Yesterday the spokesman Hadi Alabdallah reported, in contact with the Italian Syrian community, that “the bombing of the city is incessant. The inhabitants speak of a continuous shower of missiles and shells that fall over them. There are no shelters, women, children and the elderly are holed up in their own homes, hoping only that the missiles do not strike their houses or at least do not hit the room where there are huddled in. We have witnesses of persons who declare that at least ten missiles have fallen around their house and one entered into the next room, destroying it almost upon impact. It was a miracle that they had been at that moment in the next room. Right now, one only can count on miracles happening.”

Translated from Italian by Mary Rizzo


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