Thursday, March 22, 2012

Syria: Government Uses Homs Tactics on Border Town

Indiscriminate Shelling, Sniper Killings, Attacks on Fleeing Residents

March 22, 2012

"(New York) – Syrian security forces are committing serious abuses in their military campaign on al-Qusayr, a city of approximately 40,000 in Homs governorate near the Lebanese border, Human Rights Watch said today. Witnesses describe heavy shelling of residential neighborhoods, snipers shooting residents on the streets, and attacks on fleeing residents. Humanitarian conditions are dire, including food and water shortages, communications blackouts, and virtually non-existent medical assistance.

Eighteen witnesses from al-Qusayr, including an international journalist who stayed there from March 8 to 15, 2012, described shelling by the security forces, attacks on fleeing residents, and sniper fire at residents. Their accounts reflect similar tactics used by government forces in Idlib and Homs previously documented by Human Rights Watch, suggesting a coordinated policy of abuse.

Following their bloody siege of Homs, the Assad forces are applying their same brutal methods in al-Qusayr,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Having seen the devastation inflicted on Homs, the Russian government should stop arms sales to the Syrian government or risk becoming further implicated in human rights violations.”.....

Human Rights Watch has urged the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the Syrian government, targeted sanctions against Syrian leaders implicated in human rights violations, and a referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court.

“With each passing day of international inaction, the situation in Syria gets worse,” Whitson said. “Each day Russia and China delay Security Council actions, Syrians are being killed.”"

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