AT LEAST 217 KILLED IN SYRIA'S HOMS "MASSACRE"
Syrian forces killed at least 217 civilians, including women and children, in a "massacre" in the central city of Homs, a rights group said Saturday, February 4 ahead of a UN vote on the repression, according to AFP.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 138 of the fatalities were caused by mortar fire in the Al-Khalidiya district of Homs, which has become a flashpoint of the 10-month revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Another 79 people were killed in other parts of town. Following violence elsewhere, including Damascus, during the day, Friday's overall death toll was around 250 and could still rise, the Observatory said.
The grim tolls, if confirmed, would mark the bloodiest day of the almost 11-month uprising against Assad's regime.
The Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya television channels showed images of dozens of bodies on the ground and scenes of chaos in the city, with several buildings destroyed.
Witnesses interviewed by Doha-based Al-Jazeera spoke of nail bombs raining down and incessant shelling which turned the city into a war zone, while one resident, Danny Abdul Ayem reported "non-stop bombardment ... by tank shells and mortar bombs."
Tweets claiming to be by residents of Homs spoke of a city that "is bleeding" and under heavy bombardment, with one resident counting "366 explosions tonight so far."
The Observatory said the violence broke out after thousands of people across Syria defied the government crackdown to mark the 30th anniversary of a notorious 1982 massacre in the central city of Hama that killed thousands.
- 1865 Birth of Vasili Ghorghanyan (musicologist). He died in 1934.
- 1919 The Armenian National Council of Gharabagh request officers of the Allied Army to effect the withdrawal of Turkish (Azeri and Ottoman) forces from Gharabagh, and create a local autonomous unit under British supervision. The request is denied.
- 1945 Conference of the leaders of the Allies: Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin during the Second World War, in Yalta (Crimea). The three Allies and France would occupy Germany, and the Soviet Union would start a war against Japan.