2/07/2012

Gulf nations pull ambassadors from Syria

At least 21 people were killed Tuesday, including 15 in Homs, one -- a 15-year-old -- just outside the city of Homs, and five in the Damascus suburb Zabadani, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
At least 128 people were killed nationwide Monday, mostly in the besieged city of Homs, according to the opposition Syrian Revolution General Commission.
"The situation is beyond description," the commission said in a statement. "Some of these martyrs were killed with shrapnel and the others were under the rubble, and their bodies couldn't be identified because they were in remains."
Mousa Azzawi of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, speaking to CNN in London, said, "The situation is very dire." Monday was almost "like a bloodbath," he said.
"We have pictures of children under the age of 14 with half of their faces blown away; with children under the age of 4 with all of their bodies with nail bombs. We have pictures of one child who was dying on the lap of his mother under the age of 1," Azzawi said.
But Syria, on SANA, said more and more members of the armed forces and civilians are being killed by terrorist groups.
"Terrorist groups continued armed attacks in Homs, Idlib and Damascus countryside targeting civilians and military personnel, and shelled residential areas with mortar shells and vandalized public and private facilities, not sparing even mosques to which citizens turned for protection," SANA reported Tuesday.
Fourteen "army and law enforcement forces martyrs" were buried Monday, SANA reported.
U.N. officials estimate 6,000 people have died since protests began nearly a year ago. The Local Coordination Committees, a network of opposition activists that organizes and documents protests, said at least 7,339 people have been killed.
CNN cannot independently confirm opposition or government reports from Syria because the government has restricted journalists' access to the country.
Al-Assad's British-born wife has been largely quiet during the Syrian uprising. But an article published Monday in The Times of London said Asma al-Assad appears to support her husband, while also wanting dialogue and comfort for the bereaved in the country.
According to an e-mail sent through an intermediary from Asma al-Assad's office, "The president is the president of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the first lady supports him in that role," The Times reported.
"The first lady's very busy agenda is still focused on supporting the various charities she has long been involved with and rural development as well as supporting the President as needed," the e-mail continued, according to The Times. "These days she is equally involved in bridging gaps and encouraging dialogue. She listens to and comforts the families of the victims of the violence."
SANA reported Tuesday that a national committee has completed a draft constitution for the country.
Protesters and rebel fighters are demanding an end to al-Assad's rule and the beginning of true democratic elections. Al-Assad has been in power since 2000; his father, Hafez, ruled Syria for three decades before that.
"The entire world should be ashamed of what's happening here," said "Zaidoun," a Damascus-based opposition member. "Everybody is just silent and looking at us being slaughtered every moment, for no reason -- just for asking for our freedom."
An opposition activist in Homs, identified only as "Danny" to protect his safety, said government forces fired rockets on the city after the U.N. draft resolution failed.
"You have rockets landing next to your house. I'm next to a window and a rocket might kill me," Danny said.