Activists Say Violence in Syria a Relentless 'Massacre'
Activist accounts released Friday reveal that armed forces, loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad, have been attacking residences in Homs, western Syria, since Thursday.
The activists told multiple media outlets that loyalist soldiers had bombarded residences with machine-gun fire yesterday – killing at least 30 people.
The violence continued Friday, when soldiers used heavy gunfire on Homs and other Syrian cities. According to The Associated Press, activists reported that an additional 21 people were killed Friday throughout Syria, with four dead in Homs.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of British-based watchdog group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, is calling the attacks a "terrible massacre," according to MSNBC News.
Human rights watchdog The Local Coordination Committees of Syria has also ascertained that the death toll in Homs, as of Friday, was above thirty.
Activists posted a graphic YouTube video Friday, showing seriously injured civilian men, allegedly victims of the Homs attacks, writhing on the ground as others tend to their wounds.
Another video shows deceased women and children, including babies, wrapped in plastic bags and laid on the ground. The caption to this video claims that President Assad is leading a "Sectarian Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Sunni Population of Kharm Al Zeitoun in Homs City."
The videos have not been independently verified.
Syria has endured 11 months of uprisings since the Arab Spring began in March. The country's sectarian divide grows as the religious Alawite minority leads the government, although the country is populated by a majority of Sunni Muslims.
Violence has escalated recently as those protesting the government, often armed with weapons, clash with soldiers, who have become increasingly militarized in the past few months.
The Arab League has previously sent observers into the country to organize the uprising and alleviate the violence, but this mission has been widely criticized as a failure, according to Fox News.
The United Nations Security Council's British and French delegations announced Thursday night, via Twitter feed, that the U.N. Security Council will have closed door talks regarding Syria's violence Friday, Jan. 27.
An Arab League official told CNN Thursday that Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby and Qatar's prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, will travel to New York to meet with the U.N. Security Council to discuss the Syria situation. The meeting will take place Monday, Jan. 30.