Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Assad's Security Forces Continue Assault on Homs as Body Count Rises

The world looks on all while Bashar al-Assad continues killing those opposed to his regime and instilling fear in those who might rise against him. The brutal assault ongoing in Homs is indicative that Assad is carrying out his own version of the Hama rules, and that he has no intention of giving up power under any circumstances. He says just enough to the international media and diplomats to claim that he's engaging in reforms but for terrorists and external forces carrying out attacks against his legitimate security forces.

Yet, there are repeated indications that Assad isn't going after terrorists or deserters alone. He's carrying out attacks against civilians throughout the country, and the body count shows it. So too do the videos that show armored personnel carriers and other armored vehicles firing heavy weapons in close quarters with civilian populations:

Turkey, which has spoken out against the violence in Syria for the past several months, now appears to be taking a much more aggressive role in lining up diplomatic efforts. They're calling for a broad-based coalition to stop Assad's deadly crackdown:
Syria’s violence is heading toward an “intolerable point,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, as he called for an international coalition to stop President Bashar al-Assad’s deadly crackdown.

“Very clear and decisive statements need to be delivered to the Syrian regime,” Davutoglu said today in Ankara before leaving for the U.S., where he will meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Syria can’t be left to solve its problems alone and “we are determined to establish a broad international consensus,” he said.

Turkey’s initiative follows Russia and China’s Feb. 4 veto of a United Nations resolution supported by the Arab League, European Union and the U.S. aimed at ending the violence, which has led to 5,400 deaths since March. The veto gives the impression the deaths will “go unanswered” by the world and it would be “naïve” to expect change from Assad, Davutoglu said.

Turkey is looking to establish the “most broad-based” coalition, which should include members of the UN Security Council, Organization of the Islamic Conference, and Arab states, Davutoglu said.
While this can be viewed as Turkey's emergence as a major regional player filling the vacuum left by Egypt internal problems following Mubarak being deposed, it's also a justifiable and correct position. Assad is murdering opponents to his regime and is an impediment to regional stability and peace. UPDATE: According to human rights groups, nearly 7,000 people have been killed through January 23, 2012.
According to the Syrian Association for Human Rights, the number of protesters killed in Syria until 23 January 2012 has risen to 6,729, including 456 children and 316 women, as well as 742 among military ranks who refused to kill civilians. Reports indicate that 4,553 were killed with bullets; 817 with shrapnel; 715 for refusing to open fire; 414 from torture; 95 by artillery attacks; 66 of injuries; 11 because of lack of medical supplies; 11 from burns; nine were ran over by tanks; seven after inhaling tear gas; six by power outages at neo-natal units; five were ran over by cars; four by knife stabbings; three by nail bombs; two from bomb shrapnel; and two had their throats slit.
That's significantly higher than tallies kept by the United Nations, but it does seem to coincide with the general rise in violence since the beginning of 2012.

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