Syrian militias target civilians in Homs, opposition says

Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:52pm EST
 

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN (Reuters) - More than 20 people were killed in the Syrian city of Homs on Saturday, a doctor said, as fighting raged around a road junction on a supply line to government forces in the interior of the country.

The opposition accuses shabbiha militia loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of killing some 200 Sunni Muslim civilians in Homs in massacres over the last two weeks, but a Syrian ban on most independent media makes such reports difficult to verify.

In a video statement from a makeshift hospital in the city, Mohammad Mohammad, a doctor who has been treating the wounded underground for months, displayed the bodies of five people whose remains had been charred to unrecognizable bits.

"They are the Uzam family. The father, mother and three children - the shabbiha burnt them completely, as part of the annihilation the regime is bringing on the area of Jobar-Kfar Aaya," Mohammad said, referring to districts of Homs.

"We are here surrounded. We have more than 20 dead today. They have been documented by name." He said the victims had died in fighting, bombardment and summary executions.

At least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria's civil war. Mostly Sunni Homs, a commercial and agricultural hub 140 km (90 miles) north of Damascus, has been at the heart of the 22-month uprising against Assad.

Syrian authorities have not commented on the latest fighting in the city. In the past, official media have described army operations as designed to ‘cleanse' Homs from what they described as terrorists.

'ETHNIC CLEANSING'   Continued...

 
Free Syrian Army fighters are seen as a fire burns after what activists said was a shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Homs, in this picture provided by Shaam News Network and taken January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Tellawi/Shaam News Network/Handout