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Terrorism & Security

Killings in Homs fuel skepticism over Syria peace accord

Syrian forces reportedly killed as many as seven people in Homs today, just one day after Syria agreed to a peace accord that called for withdrawing tanks from the streets.

By Correspondent / November 3, 2011

Anti-government protesters pray next to the bodies of people who were among the Sunni Muslims killed on Wednesday, in Hula near Homs November 2. Syrian activists said on Wednesday that security forces shot dead at least 11 villagers at a roadblock near Homs.

Reuters

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Syrian forces have reportedly killed as many as seven people in Homs, less than a day after Damascus agreed to withdraw its tanks from the streets under an Arab League plan to end the upheaval in Syria. The continuing violence has further fueled international skepticism over Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's commitment to peace and raised concerns that the Arab League agreement lacks any enforcement clause.

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The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that Syrian tanks mounted with machine guns killed four people in the city of Homs Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Syrian Observatory chief Rami Abdul-Rahman said the tally was gathered from witnesses in the city.  

Activists also posted video of tanks firing on a building, reportedly in Homs today, according to the Guardian's live Syria blog, though it is not possible to authenticate the video since Syria is largely closed to foreign and independent journalists.

The ongoing attacks in Homs appear to violate the Arab League plan that Syria agreed to yesterday. The Daily Star of Lebanon summarizes the plan's main points as follows:

1: - Complete halt to the violence, whatever its origin, to protect Syrian civilians.

2: - Release of people detained as a result of the recent events.

3: - Withdrawal of every type of military presence from towns and residential districts.

4: - Allow concerned organizations from the Arab League, Arab and international media to move freely throughout Syria and find out the reality of the situation.

But Murhaf Jouejati, a professor at the National Defense University in Norfolk, Va., and member of the opposition Syrian National Council, told PBS Newshour Wednesday night that the plan to resolve the conflict "sounds very nice, but it's not going to happen."

The Assad regime has made many promises to many interlocutors before, including the U.N. secretary-general, including the prime minister of Turkey, including the king of Jordan, and these promises have never materialized into anything. So, I believe this is simply a measure to buy time on behalf of the Assad regime. ...

Look, two hours ago, there have been the first violations of this commitment, in that the Bab al-Amr neighborhood in Homs and the city of Latakia have been shelled. So, we simply don't believe it.

Bassam Jaara, a spokesman for the Syrian National Council, echoed Mr. Jouejati's sentiments, reports the Guardian.  "The regime was forced to accept this initiative but it will not implement it," he said.

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