39 Dead as Homs Hit with 'Heaviest Shelling' and Thousands Rally for Assad Ouster

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Thousands of Syrians rallied Friday to demand President Bashar al-Assad's ouster, as the embattled leader's forces unleashed their heaviest pounding yet of Homs in a brutal bid to crush dissent and killed 39 people across the country, monitors said.

The 39 victims included 12 dissident soldiers who were summarily executed at the hands of regime troops in the southern province of Daraa, the cradle of the revolution, the Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said.

Fifteen people were killed in Daraa, five in the Damascus neighborhood of Mezzeh, four in the central province of Homs, and three in each of the eastern protest hub of Deir al-Zour, the northern province of Aleppo, the central flashpoint province of Hama and the restive countryside around Damascus, the LCC said.

The protesters emerged from mosques after the main weekly Muslim prayers, including in Damascus, following a call by Internet-based activists for a rally for a "new phase of popular resistance."

"We want revenge against Bashar and Maher," they chanted at gatherings across the country, according to videos posted on YouTube, referring to the president's brother, who heads the feared Fourth Armored Division.

They turned out after the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly backed an Arab League initiative calling on Assad to step aside, and ahead of a visit by a Chinese envoy pushing for peace.

Assad, in remarks to visiting Mauritanian Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf, said reforms have to be synchronized with a "return to peace" in the unrest-swept country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces fired at a demonstration in the capital.

At least 10,000 people demonstrated in the southern town of Dael, in Daraa province, cradle of the 11-month revolt inspired by the Arab Spring, said the Britain-based monitor.

In Homs, rockets crashed into strongholds of resistance at the rate of four a minute, according to one opposition activist who warned the city was facing a humanitarian crisis.

"It's the most violent in 14 days. It's unbelievable -- extreme violence the like of which we have never seen before," said Hadi Abdullah of the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution.

"There are thousands of people isolated in Homs ... There are neighborhoods that we know nothing about. I myself do not know if my parents are okay. I have had no news from them for 14 days," he told Agence France Presse by phone.

A tank fired into a residential part of Homs, before bursts of machinegun fire clattered across the neighborhood, a video activists uploaded to YouTube showed.

"The regime troops are still shelling ... but are reluctant to enter Baba Amr. They are on the periphery and are moving slowly. The army will lose if it begins urban warfare," activist Omar Shakir said later on Skype.

Rights groups estimated the two-week assault on Homs has killed almost 400 people, and a medic reached on Skype said 1,800 have been wounded.

"There are injuries that cannot be treated because of a lack of medical equipment," Dr. Ali al-Hazzouri told AFP. "There are casualties who are close to dying."

The onslaught killed five people in Homs, while another nine bodies were found in the city, said the Observatory, which also reported the shelling was the most intense in a fortnight.

The violence came after the U.N. General Assembly demanded on Thursday an immediate halt to Syria's brutal crackdown on dissent, which human rights groups say has cost more than 6,000 lives since March last year.

The strongly worded resolution, adopted by a 137-12 vote, calls on Damascus "to stop all violence or reprisals immediately, in accordance with the League of Arab States initiative."

It was referring to a peace plan put forward by the pan-Arab bloc calling on Assad to hand power over to his deputy and for the formation of a unity government ahead of elections.

Russia, China and Iran opposed the non-binding resolution. The vote came just days after Beijing and Moscow vetoed a similar resolution at the U.N. Security Council.

Such a strong vote in favor of the resolution adds to mounting pressure on Assad to curb a crackdown that left at least 41 people dead on Thursday as security forces bore down on focal points of dissent.

Egypt's deputy U.N. ambassador, Osama Abdul Khalek, said the General Assembly had sent an "unambiguous message" to Damascus: "It is high time to listen to the voice of the people."

But Syrian envoy Bashar Jaafari lashed out at other Arab nations, saying Western powers had exploited the Arab League to "internationalize" the crisis.

"The Arab Trojan horse has been unmasked today," he said.

Iran's U.N. representative, Mohammad Khazaee, warned that the resolution would only deepen the crisis, "with all its ramifications to the region as a whole."

On the eve of his trip to Damascus, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said that Beijing opposed armed intervention and forced "regime change" in Syria.

On Thursday, Syria's opposition rejected a newly drafted constitution that could end nearly five decades of Baath Party rule, and urged voters to boycott a February 26 referendum on the charter.

One of them, the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, told AFP "it is impossible for us to take part in this referendum before a stop to the violence and killings."

Comments 49
Thumb thepatriot 17 February 2012, 10:52

Whatever happens next in Syria, one thing is for sure. It is the end of the Assad era. There has been too much blood spilled, and there is no way Bashar can personally stay in power. He will leave, or he will be assasinated, or he will escape his country...no one can predict the form of his surrendering power, and no one can predict how long it will take.

Now, for whom is this bad news?

1- Israelis, who have been living in a status quo with their syrian neighbour for several decades, and never felt any tension with them. We could say that syria is Israel's best ennemy!

2- Hezbollah! Well, syria is one of their major source of finance, and a syrian instrument to maintain pressure on Israel indirectly! Syria not only proivides money but weapons and training camps to the militia.

And this is the irony... the fall of Bashar is bad news for the Hezb & Israel... the 2 secret lovers...

Thumb lebneneh 17 February 2012, 12:18

I agree with what you wrote...there is no going back in Syria...I just hope that after the chaos that will come something good will come up.

Thumb jabalamel 17 February 2012, 13:15

the filthy zionist media terrorists have firm, unshaken hallucination about THE END in syria, which brings another hallucination, about the the end of our glorious resistance.

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 00:09

very well said, tell that to the brainwashed teenagers habalamel and mowaten

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:35

the filthy zionist media terrorists hallucinate that theoretical end of assad regime would somehow end my presence here.


look how they support each other in that hallucination.

even more hillarious

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 03:11

qadafe used to talk about the "hallucination" pills , just like you do, look how he ended lol

Thumb cedar 18 February 2012, 06:18

well said.

BUT ... Assad did promise if he was removed the middle ease would burn.

Which brings me to this question: Elie Hobeika was assasinated because he was going to prove the Kataeb had nothing to do with Sabra and Shatila and it was the Israelis under Sharon that did the murder.

So what about when Syria and Israel got together to Assasinate Bashir Gemayel. Do you think that Assad will let this information die? I think he will let the world know - if his power / life is realy comprimised...

Thumb jcamerican 17 February 2012, 12:10

If the syrian regime collapses. Hizballah and Israel are the losers. You are the biggest winner.

Thumb cedar 18 February 2012, 06:45

hahaha - HizbAllah will put 10,000 fighters in Syria to back the Syrian army before they let Assad go. It is a strategic ally that links their supply from iran and iraq.

Any army will fight for its strategic lines especially if the sunnies are trying to take it over and stop their supply of weapons.

Thumb Abubakr 17 February 2012, 13:13

What worries us is that the killing remains and Assad remains, i hope the dead's wishes will come true.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:42

how poetic.

"worries us"?

is it you having double/multiple personalities or you mean "us, the zionist information war department"?

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 03:13

so i take it you are okay with the killings habal amel lol?

Thumb thepatriot 17 February 2012, 13:36

well... I only hope for the best, and frankly, whatever regime comes next in syria, it couldn't possibly be worse then what we endured during the el assad era...
I hope for a regime similar to the Turkish one...at least for a regime that would let us be free and independant...
We really need to take care of ourselves now without the syrian puppeteer pulling the strings... INDEPENDENCE!!

Default-user-icon John from Koura (Guest) 17 February 2012, 20:25

I will be satisfied if Syria will have a political system like in Turkey, even though it is partly Islamist, it is better than the lousy Baathist regime. But, the opposition are a lot more like the Saudis and the Taliban than Turkey. There are over 200,000 Baathist party members who are not in the military of ALL sects ready to take arms to defeat the brotherhood and the Salafists. It is harder to defeat the Baathist in Syria than those who tried in Iraq and FAILED.

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 00:13

i think there will be chaos in syria for at least 5 years, the collapse of the regime is not the end of the story.. the fact that the world is not intervening is not good news for democracy to be honest.. the sunis will most likely seek revenge from the alwais as well the hizbustan in lebanon. I am being objective here, there will be a fundamentalist suni militia in north lebanon to counter the hizb. All this would be averted if the world intervenes and hastens the fall of the regime, and if the hizb enters into serious negotiations about the future of lebanon with their suni counterpart.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:46

the filthy zionist media terrorists hallucinate that there will be chaos in syria for 5 years and it mixes that hallucination with tons of sectarian hate speech including something stupid about our glorious resistance.

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 03:13

i think by far you are the most stupid on here and there is a consensus on this one lol

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 03:16

your "glorious" resistance is gloriously involved in the killing and murdering of Syrians both by action and by words, nothing glorious about that. The resistance used to be very good before 2000 and converted to become a purely sectarian party whose sole purpose is to conquer lebanon and convert every non-she3a to third class citizen. Game is over idiot.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:43

the filthy zionist media terrorists hallucinate about next regime in syria, whenever it happens, to be more friendly to them than current one.

not until you return golan.

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 03:14

of course the next regime will be against israel, it is not about that at all, it is about filth like the assads who claim to be anti-israel where in effect they serve israel.

Thumb thepatriot 17 February 2012, 13:52

Give us a break with your M14 this & M14 that... you M8 syrian boot licker!
As if Berri, Aoun, and Nasrallah were not puppets of Syria and Iran!

You and your people accept,request, and salute the syrian interference in Lebanese politics! No other country has decided of our fate as strongly as Syria for the past 40 years, and look where it braught us! I cannot only blame the el assad fort that, it would be too easy... yes the kissinger politics played against us, yes Lebanese politician sold their souls to the devil, yes money and power easily baught many men...

Still,for me...the worst species of all... are those who dewspite what we have endured during 40 years support el assad!! You can blame the saudis or the us as much as you want, nobody harmed us more than assad... I hope he rots in hell with papa!

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:48

the filthy zionist media terrorists had rage attack but from all the stupidities, the final touch is assad rotting in hell with papa.

now, i don't defend papa (especially ex hitlerjugend papa) but i just wander why...oh yes of course they didn't forget his that episode the past.

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 03:18

dude.. do you really think the syrian regime is stronger now than it was 11 months ago? 3anjad hala`... can you imagine where it is gona be in another 11 months.. it is a revolution dude.. sunis in syria are the vast majority, a civil war is always won by numbers go read some history, you need to become less nazi suni hater freak.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:49

the filthy zionist media terrorists have licking hallucinations these days, but there were also rubbing hallucination recently.

i guess they are lonely in those offices in occupied palestine so they get strange ideas

Thumb benzona 17 February 2012, 15:46

It doesn't doesn't who comes in power as long as they are democratically elected. If the newcomers slip, they'll be evicted. Christians do have their place as well is their society, I feel this is a major concern to you. The Lebanese sectarian representation in power is a total fiasco, perhaps it's time to dissociate religion from power! Why are the Shias popping 10 children per family -hence exploding demographically- ? Because they are financially sponsored by Iran. So, Christians should turn to other nations as well... Oh, whilst Iran is spending billions on financing terror in our country, the Iranian people are starving...

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:36

the filthy zionist media terrorists hallucinate that it's ok who comes to power if it's democratically elected. they don't learn from their past.

hitler was democraticaly elected.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:38

also some sectarian hallucinations. and iran people starving, lol...poor iranian people.

send your airplanes to bomb nuclear sites and send some to drop food for poor iranian people

Thumb primesuspect 18 February 2012, 12:38

People learned from the past, don't worry. That's why Ahmadinjad isn't able to do whatever he wants. Actually, nobody is completely free. Not even America, Russia, China, or the European countries. and I agree with Benzona, as long as the people are democratically elected, it doesn't matter and I support the idea of dissociating religion from power.

Missing vaclav_havel 17 February 2012, 15:58

c'est quand même fou qu'on commence à spéculer sur quel régime gouvernera en Syrie. c'est vraiment un foot-age de gueule des innocents et des syriens qui demandent simplement la base de toute humanité: Liberté, justice et démocratie. Je veux bien croire qu'il est possible que des islamistes profitent de la situation pour monter au pouvoir, mais c'est bel et bien la faute du régime actuel qui ne favorise pas la démocratie et qui force les gens à avoir recours à la religion pour défendre leur cause, parce que c'est lorsque qu'on n'a plus de carte en main qu'on a recours au fanatisme religieux pour poursuivre l'objectif. Je vous prie d’arrêter de jongler avec le destin de tout un peuple. Jugeons ce régime barbare par son barbarisme et non pas par la peur d'avoir les islamistes au pouvoir! ayons des principes de bases pour l'amour de dieu!

Thumb thepatriot 17 February 2012, 16:23

@vaclav h
Nous sommes Libanais avant tout, pas les policiers du monde. Le regime syrien nous a tant fait souffrir que notre desir primaire est de le voir enfin sauter.
Oui pour la democratie, la liberté et la justice... et si c'est le choix du peuple syrien en libre arbitre de placer les freres musulmans au pouvoir...ce sera leur choix...un choix idiot (comme les palestiniens qui ont elu le hammas ou les Iraniensd qui ont elu Ahmadinnejad), mais la democratie est un long processus de maturité qui peut prendre des decennies... On leur souhaitera bonne chance, et on leur demandera enfin de nous foutre la paix!

Missing vaclav_havel 17 February 2012, 16:44

Merci "thepatriot" pour ton point de vue. Je souligne quand même qu'en tant Libanais, notre pays est entouré par la Syrie et que notre destin notamment économique dépend (qu'on le veuille ou pas) de notre relation avec la Syrie. Donc je me permets d'être en désaccord avec toi sur ta dernière phrase. Je suis au contraire pour une excellente relation d'égal à égal et vraiment fraternelle avec la Syrie. en ce qui me concerne j'ai une vision très humaniste du monde, une vision à la Vaclav HAVEL, à La Gorbachev, à la Ghandi et je crois que si le monde , y compris les libanais veulent vivre en tant que citoyen digne de ce nom alors on doit partager les valeurs basiques et universelles sur le monde entier. Ces valeurs son les valeurs communes entre toutes les civilisation et toutes les rédigions.
Je suis pour autant d'accords avec toi sur le processus long de la démocratie! Merci

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:51

the filthy zionist media terrorists is putting great hopes to le monde recently because they think it will give them more credibility.

Thumb thepatriot 17 February 2012, 16:36

yes, excellent interview...

Missing allouchi 17 February 2012, 18:32

The killing machine of the Assad regime continues with the blessing of Hizballa gangs and their Lebanese allies....The day of reckoning is coming soon.

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 00:14

the killings are more evidence of teflees.. its been 11 months of killings, what was the result? the revolution grew bigger and the regime weaker..

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:52

"the day of reckoning is coming soon"

if your genocidal entity plans to send it's incompetent militia to syria or/and lebanon, you should not give away such information publicly.

your boss will be furious. you won't get paid this month, and some may even think you are traitor.

Missing startrip 17 February 2012, 18:53

Flame, your idiotic analogies are as bad as your throwing abilities.

No, the Assad regime is not the "flu." It is a cancer from which Syria will rid itself. In this 21st century, the peoples of the world no longer are governable by Stalinist autocrats, especially if they belong to a brutal minority clique.

If the Syrians want to elect the Muslim Brotherhood within the framework of a just constitution, so be it. It is no one's business other than the Syrians to decide. It will be turbulent. There will be birthing pangs. But, ultimately it will stabilize. The days of minority control for the sake of stability are waning.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:56

the filthy zionist media terrorists are in media offensive trying to say that muslim brotherhood is good for syria.

i wander how long that hallucination gonna last. i guess for 2, 3 months.

Thumb cedar 18 February 2012, 06:31

jabalamel i was going to half support something you said, then i saw your picture and chose not to - you are a traitor get rid of your picture

Default-user-icon The Truth (Guest) 17 February 2012, 19:15

How is choosing between Bashar and Muslim Brotherhood like choosing between two sicknesses? Muslim Brotherhood have never been in charge, Assad family has been in charge of killing tens of thousands of Lebanese and Syrians. occupying Lebanon for 15 years (and parts of it for much longer), pitting Lebanese groups against each other during the civil war and arming the Palestinian groups that started the whole disaster. So who's worse?

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:57

yes yes support each other. believe in own lies.

goebels is laughing loudly.

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 03:20

dollar used to be 48 liras and now it is 80 in Syria, aleppo and damascus have also entered the chaos, imagine where things would be a year from now.. do you now know how believes the idiots like hassan and their own lies lol?

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 00:10


Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:41

the filthy zionist information war department had cholera outbreak in their ranks.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 01:40

the filthy zionist media terrorists hallucinate that lebanese people have problem with breathing through norther border.

this is how we know you are not lebanese. if you were lebanese, you would know that in hot summer, the desert winds come over anti-lebanon and that's east border.

look at the map of lebanon before you say something stupid like this.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 02:00

the filthy zionist media terrorists are calling on certain Hasan El-Jardoon, probably meaning on nasrallah, to say something.

he has no time to answer your stupidities. luckily, there are enough patriotic lebanese who will show the world who you really are.

Thumb jabalamel 18 February 2012, 02:06

the present monster and his father who was a bigger monster both stick to secular regimes.

while regime in your genocidal entity is deeply religious and apartheid like.
also, you have "democratic elections" but all parties are same type of monsters much bigger than any syrian monster. also, when you made mistake and elected someone who decided it's time to make peace with palestinians, you killed him

what a bunch of hypocrites.

Missing realist 18 February 2012, 03:21

what "secular" regimes lol.. every important post in the army, every ambassador, all high ranking officer are Alawis, some "secularism" lol

Default-user-icon John from Koura (Guest) 18 February 2012, 22:15

Those who know little about Syria should not speak. The majority of generals, Ambassadors, ministers, and party members are NOT Alawite. The Head of Intelligence are almost all Alawites.