Middle East News
Syrian forces intensify attacks on restive areas
Mar 6, 2012, 17:26 GMT
Beirut - Syrian forces intensified their assaults on Tuesday on the rebel strongholds of Daraa, Idlib and Homs, killing 45 people, while Syrian president Bashar al-Assad insisted that the the steadfastness of the Syrian people has foiled foreign schemes.
The military push to crush the rebels in Daraa in the south and Idlib in the north as well as in the central province of Homs came a day before United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is expected to arrive in Damascus to press the government to end the violence and allow in humanitarian aid.
Al-Assad met Tuesday in Damascus with Alla Alexandrovsaya, chairwoman of the Syrian-Ukrainian Friendship Committee in the Ukrainian Parliament. He declared that 'the Syrian people with their awareness and will foiled foreign schemes to destabilize Syria,' according to the state-run Syrian News Agency SANA.
The Syrian authorities have been blaming 'terrorist gangs' armed by western and Arab countries for the unrest in the country that started in mid-March 2011.
Security forces killed ten people, including a young girl, in the village of Harak near Daraa by the border with Jordan, activists said.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the girl was shot dead by a sniper. At least five loyalist soldiers were killed in clashes with members of the rebel Free Syrian Army.
In the province of Homs, the shelling which targeted the neighborhoods of Rastan, al Khalidiyeh and Karam al zeitoun killed 30 people, including thirteen members of the same family, Omar Homsi, a Syrian activist in the province, told dpa.
'Large military forces backed by tanks launched an assault on Harak in Daraa. Explosions and heavy machinegun fire were heard,' said Observatory head Rami Abdul-Rahman.
The Local Coordination Committees (LCC), which document violence across Syria, said the Syrian army shelled residential areas in Harak.
In the central province of Hama, troops backed by tanks besieged the area of Teebet al-Imam, the LCC said.
Government forces are preparing to enter towns in the province of Idlib to free them from rebel fighters, activists in the area told dpa.
'Dozens of tanks and troops are besieging areas near the town of Saraqeb and residents in the targeted areas started to flee, especially women and children,' activist Rami Idlibi said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has been denied access to the city's Baba Amr district, where it wants to deliver food and medical supplies to families trapped there for weeks. Rebel fighters withdrew from Baba Amr last week after almost a month of shelling attacks by government forces.
Pressure is mounting on Syria to stop the violence and allow the Red Cross to deliver humanitarian aid.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the immediate opening of humanitarian corridors.
'Humanitarian corridors must be opened immediately. The measures proposed in the Arab League plan must be implemented,' he was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Anatolian.
But British Prime Minister David Cameron said there was no sign that Russia, Syria's ally and main arms supplier, was going to stop supporting the 'brutal' Syrian regime.
Cameron made his remarks to a parliamentary committee in London after speaking to Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin on the telephone.
US President Barack Obama said al-Assad has 'lost the legitimacy of his people' but reiterated his position that the United States would not attack Syria to stop the bloodshed in the embattled country.
While the Syrian government's crackdown on the opposition is 'outrageous,' the US will not act unilaterally to unseat President Bashar al-Assad, Obama said.
Read more about Syria Conflict
Read more about Syria Conlficts