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Syrians foresee war; U.N. decries regime

Feb. 14, 2012 at 7:03 PM   |   Comments

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HOMS, Syria, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Syrians say they're bracing for all-out civil war while diplomats at the United Nations again criticized the Assad regime for the bloodshed.

One young opposition activist, whose name was not reported, told CNN many Syrians have accepted there will be a bloody battle, though many are confident the government of President Bashar Assad will fall.

"If there is military intervention, then yes, there will be a lot of bloodshed, but it's going to be over a lot quicker. And if there isn't military intervention, there is going to be even more bloodshed, and it's going to take a lot longer to bring down the regime," he said Tuesday.

Opposition activists in Homs say snipers are preventing anyone from moving about and shelling from the government military is intense, CNN reported Tuesday.

"The snipers are even targeting those who intend to get bread from the bakeries," an activist identified as Abu Omar told CNN. "People now getting their groceries and bread carried over the fences of private homes."

Citizens throughout the country have had to set up extensive networks for communication as cellphone and landline networks for the most part are not working. In one instance, news of an armed forces tank convey was passed word of mouth as motorcyclists traveled from village to village, CNN reported.

Navi Pillay, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, decried the Assad regime for the "ongoing onslaught" against the country's citizens during a speech before the U.N. General Assembly Monday.

"The nature and scale of abuses committed by Syrian forces indicates that crimes against humanity are likely to have been committed since March 2011," Pillay said.

Her comments drew a defense from Syria's ambassador, who claimed there was an "unprecedented" media and political campaign to foment the situation.

Activists Tuesday reported government forces again shelled the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs at dawn.

CNN reported residents say they believe the country is headed for, or already in, "a full-blown war."

More than 680 people died last week in Syria, mostly in Homs, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said. On Monday, 30 civilians, including two children, were killed, mainly in Homs and Idlib, the LCC said.

At the United Nations, Pillay said evidence proves Assad's forces are engaged in a horrific crackdown.

"Independent, credible and corroborated accounts indicate that these abuses have taken place as part of a widespread and systematic attack on civilians," Pillay said.

Bashar Jaafari, Syria's U.N. ambassador, charged the "aggressive, illegitimate" criticism of his country undercuts the government.

The Arab League said it will present a new draft resolution on Syria to the U.N. General Assembly, Jordan's news agency Petra reported Tuesday.

Egypt's acting ambassador to the United Nations, Osama Abdul Khaliq, said the draft would include a road map for a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis in line with other Arab initiatives.

Syria's regime maintains it is fighting armed terrorist groups in its country.

The battle also is creating a humanitarian crisis as residents report limited access to food, water, electricity and medical supplies, CNN said. The United Nations is prepared to send humanitarian supplies to Syria as soon as it gets access, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general said Monday.

In Cairo, Asharq al-Awsat reported Tuesday the "Friends of the Syrian People" project of Arab and Western countries would meet in Tunisia, "and this matter implies severing all ties with the Assad regime."

During a meeting of Arab ministers in Cairo, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saul al-Faisal said Monday initiatives with the Assad regime were "useless," and called for communication with the Syrian opposition.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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