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‘Friends of Syria’: Push to End Indiscriminate Shelling 
Human Rights Watch
24 February 2012
(Tunis) – Governments at the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Tunis on February 24, 2012, should enlist the support of Russia and China to push Syria to stop its indiscriminate shelling of residential neighborhoods in the city of Homs, Human Rights Watch said today. They should also press Syria to allow delivery of humanitarian aid and permit safe passage for all civilians who wish to leave.
Since February 3, Syrian army shelling of Homs has killed at least 373 people, according to Syrian monitoring groups, and wounded hundreds of others, including women and children. Local residents who spoke to Human Rights Watch estimate that at least 20,000 residents remain in the Baba Amr neighborhood – the hardest hit area. (…)
(…) “The indiscriminate attacks on populated areas with heavy-duty weapons in Homs and other cities demonstrate the price of blocking an international consensus to end the horrific human rights violations in Syria,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Russia and China have a particular responsibility to put pressure on Syria, given that they vetoed Security Council consensus, and Syria has so far shown itself impervious to condemnation by most other states of its actions.” (…)
(…) The situation in Homs has become so dire that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on February 21 for a daily two-hour truce to allow delivery of vital aid and to evacuate the wounded and the sick. A day later, according to news reports, Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed concern about the “difficult humanitarian situation in Syria” and support for the efforts of the ICRC to establish a truce. (…)

(…) Human Rights Watch and 143 international and Arab nongovernmental organizations had earlier urged the “Friends of Syria” to outline a strategy to end the human rights violations in Syria and secure accountability for crimes against humanity.
To read the full report, see here.


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