|"Free Syrian Army supporters chant anti government slogans under snowfall on the outskirts of Idlib , north Syria, Wednesday, February 29, 2012." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)|
By Bassem Mroue
Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, March 2, 2012
"Syrian activists accused regime forces of carrying out execution-style killings and burning homes Friday as part of a scorched-earth campaign in a restive neighborhood in the city of Homs, while the Red Cross headed to the area following a bloody, monthlong siege to dislodge rebel forces. ... Syrian forces retook control of the district, called Baba Amr, on Thursday, and there were growing fears of revenge attacks after the rebels withdrew. The Red Cross reached Homs, but had yet to enter Baba Amr. Bassel Fouad, a Syrian activist who fled to Lebanon from Baba Amr two days ago, said a colleague there told him Friday that Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen known as shabiha were conducting house-to-house raids. 'The situation is worse than terrible inside Baba Amr,' Fouad said. 'Shabiha are entering homes and setting them on fire.' His colleague said the gunmen lined 10 men up early Friday and shot them dead in front of a government cooperative that sells subsidized food. He said Syrian forces were detaining anyone over the age of 14 in the three-story building. 'They begin at the start of a street and enter and search house after house,' he said. 'Then they start with another street.' The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said it had received reports of 10 people slain in front of a co-op and called on the Red Cross team heading to Homs to investigate claims by residents the building is being used a prison. Another group, the Local Coordination Committees, said 14 were killed. The claims could not be independently verified.
Information from inside Baba Amr has been difficult to obtain in recent days. Activists elsewhere in the city said those in Baba Amr stopped using satellite connections for fear the government could use them to target strikes. Others accuse the government of scrambling signals. The central city of Homs, Syria's third largest, has emerged as a key battleground in the uprising against President Bashar Assad that began in March 2011. Activists said hundreds were killed during the nearly monthlong siege, and many lived for days with little food and no electricity or running water. The UN said it was alarmed by the reports of execution-style killings after the Syrian army seized Baba Amr from rebel forces in a major blow to the opposition. In Geneva, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the agency had received unconfirmed reports of 'a particularly grisly set of summary executions' involving 17 people in Baba Amr after government forces entered. Rupert Colville did not provide details but said his office was seeking to confirm the reports and called on both government and rebel forces to refrain from all forms of reprisal. The Red Cross, meanwhile, sent a convoy of aid trucks to Homs along a snow-covered route from the capital Damascus early Friday after getting permission from the government. Khalid Arqsouseh, a spokesman for the Syrian Red Crescent in Homs, said the seven 15-ton trucks were carrying food, milk powder, medical supplies and blankets. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the events in Syria a 'scandal,' adding that the European Council 'condemned in the harshest terms what is happening in Syria.' [...]"
[n.b. The situation is certainly ripe for a substantial gendercide of "battle-age" men. I will post information as I come across it.]