Avaaz: 40 civilians killed trying to flee Hama, medical supplies running out
- Tanks deploy near Arbeen in Hama
- New Idlib massacre: Regime forces kill 18, including 6 children
- Army continues to shell central Homs, killing dozens of civilians
At least 40 civilians were killed today after violent clashes broke out between the army and FSA fighters in Arbeen neighbourhood. Citizen journalist ‘Mohammed Al Nuaimi’ said that clashes started when the army tried to storm Arbeen after bombing the district. Citizen journalist ‘Sameh Hamwi’ told Avaaz today via Skype: “At least 40 people were killed while trying to escape, soldiers are preventing people from fleeing the area. Shelling was indiscriminate and many houses were razed to the ground.”
Avaaz citizen journalists said they believe that the Assad regime is trying to stir conflict between civilians and the FSA by preventing them from escaping – shelling neighbourhoods when the FSA launches an attack – but they added that so far this tactic has failed.
Meanwhile doctors in field hospitals in Hama say they are unable to treat the injured as medical supplies quickly run out. Citizen journalists said there were still supplies of food but warned that they would not last long if the army blockade continued much longer.
Citizen journalists reported a brutal army crackdown against the eastern neighbourhoods of Hama for a third day in a row. Following violent clashes, soldiers stormed Hamidiya and surrounding areas, raiding every home and arresting all males over 14.
Citizen journalist ‘Mohammed Al Nuaimi’ told Avaaz: “Houses are very close to each other in Hamidiya, people can easily hide and escape but the army is burning everything to force everyone to escape. They know that all families in Hama oppose the regime because of the massacres committed in the city in the early 80s. Hama continues to suffer from army attacks since the beginning of last month of Ramadan.”
At least one person was killed in the attacks today. Citizen journalist ‘Sameh al-Hamwi’ said: “Yesterday at least 18 people were killed and today we discovered 7 new bodies. The internet is completely cut off and electricity has been out for over 12 hours.”
Avaaz citizen journalists reported heavy clashes in the town of Sermin near the city of Idlib after the FSA attacked several checkpoints. The army in turn shelled residential neighbourhoods in Sermin using tanks, armoured vehicles and heavy machine gun fire.
The clashes lasted over two hours as the army shelled the town centre, destroying several houses as well as a mosque’s minaret. The army then stormed Sermin and raided the houses, killing 3 people and injuring 30 others.
The army also bombed towns across the province today, with many families fleeing their homes to escape the shelling and heading towards the Turkish border. Citizen journalists also reported that the army destroyed a civilian bus, killing all 18 passengers including 6 children, 2 women and the bus driver.
The army occupied most of the ancient districts of Homs. Citizen journalist ‘Karam Abu Rabee’ told Avaaz: “The army continues to shell the central neighbourhoods of Safsafa, Bab Tadmor and Bab Aldreib even though they’re almost empty, and destroyed a marketplace.”
The army also shelled the historic Great Omari Mosque in the city centre. Citizen journalist ‘Abu Rabi’ reported that 4 people belonging to a single family were killed including a child. They had been displaced from nearby Jeb Jandali neighbourhood earlier today, but heavy shelling of Bab Sibaa neighbourhood led to the destruction of the house they were staying at.
An eyewitness from Khaldiya neighborhood told Avaaz: “Khaldiya has been under heavy shelling since last night. The army and FSA clashed nearby and several soldiers were injured, you could see ambulances carrying casualties away.”
Similar clashes took place in Bab al-Turkmen where snipers shot at anyone moving, killing at least one person and injuring 3 others. Snipers also targeted water tanks in the neighbourhood. Aloqosur neighbourhood also came under heavy fire, with violent clashes taking place in the past two days, killing several civilians. Many houses were destroyed and countless people displaced.
Citizen journalist ‘Abu Zeinab’ told Avaaz: “The main danger comes from snipers. They killed one person and a woman near Bab al-Turkmen who was trying to flee from her home.”
There were also violent clashes between the army and FSA in the town of Alqaseer town bordering Lebanon. Fighting continued throughout the day and the army bombed the residential neighbourhoods of the city with tanks and mortar fire, killing at least 4 people including a retired lieutenant from FSA and injuring several others.
Latest footage from Avaaz citizen journalists:
Sound of fighting in Hamidiya neighbourhood in Hama:
Anti-Assad protests in Hama:
Tanks deploying near Arbeen in Hama:
Shelling of Khalidiya neighborhood in Homs:
Effects of bombing in Safsafa neighbourhood (Homs):
Civilian killed by soldiers while trying to flee in Homs:
Plight of civilians in Bab Turkmen (Homs):