Residents of the Syrian city of Homs awoke on Thursday to intense shelling by the army and security forces. Shooting and explosions could be heard in the old district of Bab Sbaa, and the resulting fires ravaged the city centre, eyewitnesses say. Our Observer there brings us this rare first-hand report.
Syrian security forces have stepped up their military operation in the central city of Homs, Syria’s cultural capital and a focal point of pro-democracy protests. According to residents and rights groups, the fresh wave of repression has left at least 50 people dead since Saturday. Because of extraordinarily tight restrictions on reporting in Syria, these figures are very difficult to verify independently. On Tuesday evening, the army reportedly made mass arrests in villages surrounding the city.
Protesters in other cities across the country have decided to dedicate this Friday’s protests (demonstrations in Syria traditionally take place after Friday noon prayers) to the citizens of Homs.
Army shooting in the neighbourhood of Al-Marijeh, Video posted on YouTube.