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Activist: ‘We’re really tired of talk’ as rockets blast through Syrian city

 


— Intense blasts echoed through the ravaged Syrian city of Homs on Monday after a weekend bloodbath ended in hundreds of deaths there, local activists said.

“It is horrible. Especially today, it is horrible,” said Abu Omar, a local activist who said the Syrian army was attacking without warning. “Usually they are using mortars. They are now using rockets in the sky. We can see them in the sky.”

At least 30 people were killed Monday in Homs, according to another opposition activist, identified as “Danny,” and a doctor at at a field hospital in the city’s Baba Amr neighborhood.

The Syrian government has stepped up its brutal crackdown after the U.N. Security Council’s failed Saturday to pass a resolution condemning the regime, activists said.

“The U.N. gave them the green light to inflict more violence,” Danny said. “If it wasn’t for the U.N., they wouldn’t have did this. It gave them the OK to kill more. If the U.N. had done something about this, this regime would be a little bit scared.”

China and Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that would have demanded President Bashar al-Assad stop the killing and answer calls aimed at finding a Syrian-led solution to the 11-month crisis.

Danny said the devastation Sunday included a girl who lost an eye to gunfire and a boy with his jaw shot away. Many of the injured were being treated in field hospitals in civilian homes, including some who died from wounds that would not have been fatal with proper care.

“We haven’t got enough doctors. We haven’t got enough medication,” he said.

Omar said one child killed in the violence “was almost in pieces.”

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists, reported that at least 29 of Sunday’s 43 estimated deaths occurred in Homs. Opposition groups said more than 300 civilians have died in Homs since Thursday.

Danny said last week that pro-Assad forces launched a renewed attack on Homs after a few dozen soldiers defected and fled into the city.

Protesters and rebel fighters are demanding an end to al-Assad’s rule and true democratic elections. Al-Assad has been in power since 2000; his father, Hafez, ruled Syria for three decades.

United Nations officials have said an estimated 6,000 people have died since protests began nearly a year ago. The LCC said at least 7,339 people have been killed.

But the Syrian government has consistently blamed the violence on “armed terrorist groups.”

Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, said the entire crisis has been manufactured and fueled by media campaign to make the Syrian government look bad.

Referring to the reported deaths in Homs on Saturday, Jaafari asked, “Is there a sensible person who would believe a government commits massacres in a given city on a day when the Security Council is scheduled to hold a meeting to examine the situation in that country? Would any entity put itself in such a position?”

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said 15 people — including two children, an army colonel and eight members of a single family — were killed by “terrorists” around the country on Sunday.

At least nine government troops died and 21 others were wounded in Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition activist group.

CNN cannot independently confirm opposition or government reports from Syria because the government has restricted journalists’ access to the country.

Several of the 13 Security Council members who voted in favor of the draft resolution said they were furious at Russia and China for their dual veto.

China does not accept the accusation. We are not selfish in our decision.
China’s ministry of foreign affairs

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Russia and China “will have any future blood spill on their hands,” while French Ambassador Gerard Araud said Beijing and Moscow have aligned themselves with a regime that is massacring its people.

The Russian and Chinese ambassadors said they support an end to the violence, but did not agree with the text of the resolution, which they said would have complicated the issue and sent conflicting signals.

The two countries — which have trade relations with Syria — have said they support a dialogue among factions in Syria.

On Monday, China’s ministry of foreign affairs rejected criticism of the country’s veto.

“China does not accept the accusation. We are not selfish in our decision,” the ministry says. “China does not shelter anyone. We uphold justice and take a responsible attitude. We want the Syrian people to be free from the scourge of conflict and warfare.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to visit Damascus on Tuesday to meet with al-Assad, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby insisted Sunday that the Arab League and international community will continue to seek a resolution, according to an Arab League official who could not be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

“The Arab League aims to avoid military intervention in Syria and continues to probe for an Arab solution to the Syrian crisis,” el-Araby said, according to the official.

But residents on the ground say so far, the international community has abandoned Syrians and left many to die at the hands of the regime.

“We want to see actions. We don’t want to see talk. We’re really tired of talk, and talk, and talk,” Danny said. “While everyone’s talking, every second, someone’s dying here.”

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