At least 15 people were killed in the central town of Rastan Thursday morning, local human-rights activists said, as Syrian forces continued a five-day assault on restive towns close to Homs in an attempt to quash dissent.The UN can't be bothered to indicate that Assad is carrying out war crimes - as they've declared with Libya's Khadafi, even though both regimes are engaging in all-too-similar and familiar tactics. If anything, the situation in Syria is more serious considering that the opposition isn't nearly as well armed and that the targets of Assad are civilian protesters who oppose the regime and his forces are busy shelling and targeting villages and communities throughout the country that are giving support to the protesters.
Shelling and heavy machine-gun fire have been reported in the town, north of the city of Homs, and nearby Telbiseh, according to activists and Homs residents, many of whom have family in the towns, bringing the death toll in the area to 69 since Sunday, according to Razan Zeitouneh, a human-rights lawyer in Damascus.
More than 40 of the 69 dead are in Rastan, and at least five are in Telbiseh. Over the weeks leading to the assault, both towns were scenes of massive and sustained protests during which statues of Hafez al-Assad, the former president and father of the current leader, were destroyed.
Activists also say assaults have been carried out against Hirak, a town close to Deraa, and report arrests in the coastal city of Banias.
In a repeat of what has become the Syrian regime's modus operandi for dealing with rebel towns, tanks moved to surround the towns over Saturday night, activists and residents said. Communications, electricity and water were cut, before soldiers and security forces carried out shootings and ransacked houses. The southern protest hub of Deraa was similarly encircled on April 25.
Children are also being targeted by Assad indiscriminately, and media outlets have reported that among those killed was a 13-year-old boy who was tortured and killed by Assad's thugs:
It's likely that such acts will galvanize the opposition and rally more Syrians to oppose Assad's brutal regime.