“The U.N. refugee agency said Monday that as many as 2,000 Syrians crossed into Lebanon over the last two days to flee the violence in their country. In the Lebanese border village of Qaa, families with women with small children came carrying only plastic bags filled with a few belongings.
“We fled the shelling and the strikes,” said Hassana Abu Firas. She came with two families who had fled government shelling of their town al-Qusair, about 14 miles (22 kilometers) away, on the Syrian side.
The town is in Homs province, where the government has been waging a brutal offensive for the past month.
“What are we supposed to do? People are sitting in their homes and they are hitting us with tanks,” Firas told The Associated Press. “Those who can flee, do. Those who can’t will die sitting down.”
Lebanese security officials say more than 10,000 Syrians are believed to be in the country. One official said as many as 3,000 are believed to have crossed in recent days because of violence in Homs, though it is unclear how many have returned to Syria.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity under government protocol.
Inside Lebanon, many Syrians fear agents from their own country’s security services. Stories have circulated of kidnappings and collaboration between Lebanese and Syrian security forces. Syria controlled Lebanon for decades and Hezbollah, the party which now dominates Lebanon’s government, is closely allied with Syria and Iran.
Turkey says it hosts more than 11,000 Syrians in camps along the border with Syria, including more than 1,000 who crossed in the last month. About 100 have entered in the last two days.
Jordan has more than 80,000 Syrian refugees, according to the government.”
The Huff Post has more news of atrocities, and still international inaction.
Marie Colvin’s killing reminds us how brutal the Syrian regime is. How it will murder anyone that opposes it by virtue of their words or actions. Marie Colvin is a victim like thousands of dead Syrians who have died over the past year.
The murderous events in Syria should remind us how little we have learnt since Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia. It is a standard text amongst Western children on the nature of the 1930s, aggressive dictators and the failure of the West to stop them, yet it could be rewritten in terms of 21st century Syria.
Despite a year of merciless murder, the slaughter of civilians and numerous war crimes the West has done little to stop the carnage in Syria.
There has been plenty of hand wringing, a lot of coughing and arguments trotted out that would shame a 1930’s isolationist by their naiveté, repetition and cynicism.
Hugh Dixon looks at some of the issues, in How to help the Syrians.
Elsewhere, Slain journalists may have been targeted by Syrian military.
Marie Colvin’s last piece ‘We live in fear of a massacre’.
My friend, Marie Colvin.
Recalling a Last Dinner With a Journalist Killed in Syria.
Marie Colvin’s November 2010 speech on the importance of war reporting.
Journalist Marie Colvin in Homs.
Two Western Journalists Killed in Syria Shelling.
We can only hope that in 20 years from now that children are taught the lessons of not allowing dictators and murderous regimes to slaughter civilians whilst the world looks on. I am not that optimistic.
Over the past few weeks there have been numerous pieces in the press concerning Syria and the Middle East, this is a small selection:
Inside the torture chamber of Assad’s inquisition squads.
Syrian troops fire on protesters in Damascus.
Asa Winstanley on Russia Today has been quibbling about the precise death toll in Syria.
Why he does that I can’t say. I can understand why Russia Today does it. They are following Russia’s foreign policy support for Bashar Assad’s regime, but why Winstanley would quibble when the Syrian regime are slaughtering the people of Homs on a daily basis, is hard to fathom.
Left Foot Forward argues Liberal intervention shouldn’t be confined to the West.
China backs Assad before Syrian forces open fire at funeral.
Assad sends tanks towards Homs as Red Cross seeks ceasefire talks.
Nir Rosen on Syria’s armed opposition.
Syrian Regime Fakes Supportive Roy Interview.
Dozens More Die in Syrian Violence, Activists Say.
Saeed Malekpour’s death sentence.
Elsewhere, The Price of Dissent in Saudi Arabia.
Praise Arab Spring, except for antisemitism.
The treatment of immigrants in Greece is terrible.
The Washington Post’s coverage is worth a read:
“Bombs fall, bullets fly, cocks crow — and a rainbow appears. The battle in Homs on livestream,” The Post’s Liz Sly wrote on Twitter early Wednesday morning.
It was another day of deadly shelling in Syria, despite declarations from Russia that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “completely committed” to stopping the fight.
While Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the international community not to intervene and to allow more time for dialogue with Assad, the city of Homs came under renewed bombardment Wednesday. The BBC reports it’s the “heaviest” yet, as activists say military tanks are rolling in the streets. BBC’s Paul Wood, who has now left Homs after reporting there for the past few days, writes:
Unconfirmed reports claimed that pro-government militiamen known as “shabiha” were going door-to-door and killing indiscriminately.
There are also reports that 18 premature babies died after their incubators failed as a result of power cuts. State TV denied the reports and said Homs hospitals were operating normally.
As many as 100 civilians died in the attacks on Wednesday alone,according to Reuters. Hundreds of amateur videos have been pouring in on YouTube, showing dead bodies, damaged buildings and the grief of family members who have lost their relatives.”
Danny Dayem’s YouTube channel has some grim videos, but he does document the Syrian government’s atrocities and what’s actually happening in Homs:
This video detailing events in Homs, Syria makes for distressing but necessary viewing.
Update 1: PRI describes what is happening in Homs:
“Dayem said shelling has been going on for hours in his hometown. They will stop at 7 p.m. — their normal time. Dayem said shelling goes on all day, every day, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“That’s the way we live now,” Dayem said. “This is not a normal life.”
Dayem said in addition to the shelling, venturing outside puts you at risk of being shot by a sniper merely for crossing the street. Kids as young as 8 and 9 years old know that they can’t walk outside, they have to run.
“That isn’t a life. A kid has to run to cross the street so he doesn’t get shot by a sniper,” Dayem said.
Before the current outburst of violence, Dayem said the presence of Arab League monitors had actually forced the army to lessen their attacks. But with the monitors having pulled back, violence is escalating.
“They did a big massacre three days ago,” Dayem said.”