- (Photo: Reuters/Zaman Al)
Over 100 people have reportedly been massacred on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Syrian city of Homs, which has one of the largest Christian populations in the country, with witnesses linking the murders to President Bashar al-Assad's army.
"The Observatory has the names of 14 members of one family, including three children, and information on other families who were completely killed, including one of 32 people," said Rami Abdelrahman, head of British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Guardian shared. The group revealed that at least 106 people were shot, stabbed and burned to death over the two-day period.
Homs, Syria's third largest city, has often felt the brunt of the ongoing civil war between government loyalists and rebel groups who are bent on taking down what they see as an oppressive regime.
"Three charred bodies lay sprawled just inside one house. A trail of blood stained the cement," a BBC correspondent reported of some of the scenes at the attack.
"In the kitchen, where china teacups sat neatly on a shelf, more than a dozen bullet casings were scattered across a floor smeared with blood," the reporter added. "In another room, two more burnt corpses were curled up next to a broken bed."
In May 2012, another 108 people were killed in the town of Houla near Homs, which the U.N. also blamed on President Assad's army.
One of the witnesses to he massacre, Aby Yazen, claimed that Assad's forces were punishing civilians who allowed rebels to take refuge in the city, according to the Guardian.
The government and the rebels remain locked in a hostile stalemate, at the expense of civilian casualties that keep mounting. Earlier this week, 80 people were killed in bomb blasts at the University of Aleppo in Syria, with the rebels claiming government warplanes were responsible for the attack, while city officials blamed rockets launched by rebels.
One of the largest Christian demographics in Syria lives in Homs, who make up only 10 percent of Syria's Islam-dominated population.
"Gunmen have told the besieged people that if you go out of these areas, we will die," Maximos al-Jamal, a Greek Orthodox priest shared of concerns back in July when the city was again under siege. Christian families have been facing a grim reality in the war-torn city, with limited access to food, water and the medical care that they need.
Despite the international community pleading for peace, the civil war in Syria has so far cost over 60,000 lives, according to the U.N., and a resolution seems a long way off.