“We cannot take photos here but the scenes of the people killed and wounded are unreal.” That’s how an activist in Al Malaab district in Homs city described the scenes today as tank shells fired by Assad military college also targeted the civilians in Al Malaab, which is a regime-controlled district.
Al Waer district – which houses up to 80 thousand civilians, some original residents and many internally displaced from other districts – has been under Assad siege for years. For 3 years, medical aid has not been allowed by Assad forces into the district except occasionally; food supplies have not been allowed in for the 4th month in a row. Al Waer is the last rebel-held area in the city. Civilians are not allowed to enter or leave the district and so are medical cases, trapped inside with extremely dire medical conditions where medics are unable to offer healthcare to chronic diseases, amputations, or properly perform urgent life-saving surgeries to wounded patients. Prices of provisions are inflated massively; for instance, one kilo of flour costs 1,200 Syrian liras (around 6 US dollars), an amount that cannot be paid by most civilians who are unemployed or unable to work due to injuries or the lack of a guardian.
Bombarding Al Waer District
Since the 7th of February up until today Friday, Assad regime forces and allied Al Rida Hezballah forces continue to target the Al Waer district with all types of heavy weaponry. Speaking to activist Mohammad Hameed inside Al Waer, he says: “6 civilians have been killed only today Friday.” According to Mohammad and fellow activists, for the past 3 days the district has been targeted by at least 10 airstrikes, 79 mortar bombs, and 55 tank shells. He adds: “Civilian areas are being specially targeted, such as Al Berr hospital, Syrian Civil Defense center, schools, main roads, and souks. It’s completely indiscriminate.”
From 7th of February up until today Friday, 19 civilians got killed, including 4 children and 1 woman. The bombardment continues to target the besieged area.
80 civilians got wounded, including 21 children and 4 cases of amputation, in the latest escalation as well. Mohammad says doctors are unable to cope with severe injuries and the lack of specialized doctors makes matters worse. “For the past 5 months, the medical situation has become horrendous; there rarely are any medicines for chronically diseased patients, such as those suffering diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure.” Medics left in Al Waer district are forced to make extremely difficult decisions with the lack of medical supplies. Doctors today uploaded footage from one of the hospitals in Al Waer district, sending what they call “the last humanitarian call to all human rights and aid organizations”, to allow medical supplies to enter the district.
Translation of the video:
“Male doctor: This is the last call we send to the international and human rights organizations working in the medical field to immediately end the siege on Al Waer district; you must fulfill your role in ending the siege and allowing medical supplies, first aid, vaccinations, baby milk, and children supplements into the district.
Female doctor: Massive number of wounded civilians: children, women, men, young men… The airstrikes are indiscriminate and are targeting everyone. Children wounded… We have cases of amputations. This is a humanitarian call to all international organizations: medical supplies should be allowed into the district to treat all those wounded. Please, please, please help Al Waer district. This is our last call to the international organizations.”
According to activist Mohammad, Al Waer’s Negotiating Committee, which had been able to maintain ceasefires for the besieged district, is negotiating with the regime to halt the savage escalation.
Al Malaab district, which is another heavily populated district in Homs city despite being under Assad regime control, was under attack today by regime’s tank shells. 2 civilians were killed and at least 6 other civilians were wounded.
The regime’s forces also targeted the towns of Talbiseh, Taldu, and Al Ghantu in Homs’s suburbs by airstrikes and heavy tank shelling, leading to the killing of one civilian.