Syria army pounds rebel towns despite outcry

AFP reports: The Syrian army kept up its bombardment of rebel strongholds on Sunday despite an international outcry over the killing of 92 people, a third of them children, in the shelling of a central town.

Arab and Western governments expressed outrage at the “massacre” in the town of Houla on Friday and Saturday.

But the rebel Free Syrian Army warned that unless the international community took concrete action it would no longer be bound by a UN-backed peace plan that was supposed to start with a ceasefire last month.

Government troops raked rebel neighbourhoods of the central city of Hama with heavy machinegun fire, while the town of Rastan to its south came under artillery fire for a 14th straight day, a human rights watchdog said.

Rebel fighters who pulled out of the flashpoint central city of Homs earlier this year in the face of a devastating assault by the army are holed up in Rastan, activists say.

“The town is being hit at a rate of two shells a minute,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad also clashed with rebel fighters in the town of Harasta near Damascus.

The head of the UN military observer mission overseeing the ceasefire that was supposed to take effect on Apil 12 called what happened in Houla a “brutal tragedy.”

“This morning UN military and civilian observers went to Houla and counted more than 32 children and over 60 adults killed,” Major General Robert Mood told reporters in Damascus on Saturday.

“Whoever started, whoever responded and whoever carried out this deplorable act of violence should be held responsible,” Mood said.

“Those using violence for their own agendas will create more instability, more unpredictability and may lead the country to civil war,” he added.

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2 thoughts on “Syria army pounds rebel towns despite outcry

  1. Kareem Najjar

    it seems your reports on Syria are largely one-sided and following the mainstream media.

    Thos of us close to the fighting recognize it for what it is – a conspiracy to overgrow the current regime, replace it with something more sinister, and feed the war machine.

    A little balance, please. Or context!

  2. Paul Woodward

    This is “a conspiracy to overthrow the current regime” — which is what the regime itself says.

    It’s not clear to me that your closer proximity to Syria makes you more objective. Frankly, I’m very skeptical about the idea that the Assad family is the essential glue holding Syria together. The risk of prolonged civil war seems to be extreme and if the regime sees its own survival and Syria’s survival as bound together then it would seem many more lives will be lost.

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