SYRIA

Homs’ residents plea for help as food and medicine run low

 Syrian armed forces laid siege to Homs on Wednesday, showering the city with rounds of rocket and mortar fire for a fifth consecutive day. In the neighbourhood of Bab Amr, which has seen some of the worst shelling since attacks began on Saturday, residents say the humanitarian situation has now become dire.    

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Syrian armed forces laid siege to Homs on Wednesday, showering the city with rounds of rocket and mortar fire for a fifth consecutive day. In the neighbourhood of Bab Amr, which has seen some of the worst shelling since attacks began on Saturday, residents say the humanitarian situation has now become dire.

 

Wednesday’s bombardments came as Western powers struggle to find a response to the escalating violence in Syria, with the European Union reportedly weighing greater sanctions targeting the country’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad. However, there are some in Homs who say that what they really need is material aid in the form of food and medical supplies.

 

According to reports, around 50 people in Homs have been killed in Wednesday’s attacks.

"We feed ourselves with stale bread soaked in water"

Nader Husseini, 25, is an activist and student. He lives in Baba Amr.

 

The humanitarian situation on the ground is catastrophic. Not only do we lack medical supplies to treat people with, but we don’t even have access to care -- the main field hospital in Baba Amr was shelled by tanks [the hospital was attacked both Monday and Tuesday]. The majority of people who are dying from minor injuries are hemorraging to death because care is limited.

 

A  field hospital in Homs' neighbourhood of Baba Amr is pounded by artillary fire on February 6. Video posted on YouTube by syriapioneer.

 

We also don’t have enough food. The bakery in our neighbourhood was bombarded. We feed ourselves with stale bread soaked in water. We’re surviving for the moment, but I don’t know how we’re going hold on in the coming days. From time to time, there are people who try to move between neighbourhoods in a bid to find food, but it’s dangerous because the snipers shoot at anything that moves. We need humanitarian organisations to help us with the wounded and provide us with food supplies.

 

“The majority of people who are dying from minor injuries are hemorraging to death because care is limited”

 

The Free Syrian Army has been holding out, but they’re no match for he regular army in terms of weapons of manpower. However, if we didn’t have the Syrian Free Army, Assad’s forces would have already entered they neighbourhood and massacred everyone. Despite their superior numbers and strength, the regular army is still terrified of armed opposition. That’s why they’re shelling us – so they can fight from a distance”.

"We’re asking for humanitarian corridors to evacuate women and children to neighbouring countries"

Mahmoud Arabi, 25, is a student in Baba Amr.

 

We were shelled at least 50 times on Tuesday morning between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. On top of that, civilians, including children, have been subjected to anti-aircraft starting today. There is a huge amount of material damage – a lot of homes have been left in ruins and there are still bodies trapped beneath the rubble.

 

Arabi holds up pieces of shrapnel that struck his house.

 

The Syrian army has destroyed a lot of the local businesses and along with them, food. They’ve also targeted pharmacies.

 

We’re asking for all Arab and Western nations to help the Syrian people by providing us with aid and establishing secure humanitarian corridors so women and children can be evacuated to neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon”.

 

Syrian activist Khaled Abou Saleh calls for help after being wounded in Baba Amr on February 6. Video posted on YouTube by999mahony.

Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Maha Ben Abdelahim.