Syrian Troops Shell Homs as Aid Group Waits

Posted June 21st, 2012 at 6:35 am (UTC-5)
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Residents and Syrian rights activists say government troops have shelled Homs, killing two people, as aid teams from the International Committee of the Red Cross stood ready to evacuate trapped and wounded citizens from the city.

Activists also reported shelling Thursday in the southern town of Inkhil, in Daraa province, that killed at least nine people.

The ICRC says both Syrian authorities and the opposition have agreed to its request for a temporary truce so the group can evacuate sick and wounded civilians from Homs and bring in much-needed medical supplies. Hundreds of people are trapped by fighting in the central city's Sunni Muslim neighborhoods.

In another development Thursday, Syrian state media said the military lost contact with a fighter jet that was on a training mission, while an official in neighboring Jordan said a Syrian jet landed at a military air base there.

Homs has been at the center of the 15-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and became the focus of world concern in February and March, when opposition-held areas endured weeks of government bombardments and sniper fire, killing hundreds.

Rights activists said violence across the country Wednesday killed at least 53 people. Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told VOA he fears Syria will become “the new Somalia or the new Afghanistan.”