[VIDEOS & PICS] Syria: shelling continues despite outrage after journalists' death

Thursday's main events in Syria

  • Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan is to be appointed as the UN/Arab League special envoy to war-stricken Syria. The role will include coordinating security issues and ensuring the safe and effective delivery of humanitarian aid.
  • The Local coordinating committees (LCCS) report that the death toll in Syria has now reached 63.
  • Seven Syrian activists were found dead in Homs on Thursday. The group, composed of 9 men, was heading to Baba Amro "after hearing that two foreign journalists were killed".
  • French journalist, Edith Bouvier, and Paul Conroy, Sunday Times photographer, injured in Wednesday's attack which resulted in the death of Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, both recorded video messages on Thursday pleading for help.
  • As Iran reaffirmed it support for Syria, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said journalists were "assassinated" before adding the perpetators will be held responsible.
  • A United Nations human rights investigation concluded that Syria is committing war crimes. The UN panel said on Thursday it submitted a list of Syrian military and political officials suspected of crimes against humanity.
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    17:46 This video is reportedly showing clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the regime forces in the town of Kafranbel, Idlib province.

    17:32 Now Lebanon reports that seven Syrian activists who were shot dead were found in Homs on Thursday. The group, composed of 9 men, was heading to Baba Amro "after hearing that two foreign journalists were killed".

    "Seven Syrian activists collaborating with the Avaaz action group were found "executed" in Homs, while two others, including a foreigner, remain missing, the non-governmental organization said Thursday.

    The group of nine men, including one foreign paramedic, had set off on foot for Baba Amr on Wednesday morning after hearing that two foreign journalists were killed in the flashpoint district of Homs, said Avaaz's Alex Renton.

    "They carried a respirator and medicine," he said.

    After losing contact with them, a member of the network on Wednesday "found seven of them shot dead, with hands tied behind their backs... just before the entrance to Baba Amr," the activist told AFP.

    He said the respirator was gone while some medicine was found "strewn across the road."

    He declined to reveal the name or the nationality of the foreign paramedic, but said his embassy had been alerted.

    "Those were civilian activists, unpaid volunteers," he said, accusing the "Shabiha or armed forces" of killing the men whose ages ranged between 16 and 24."

    17:17 As the death toll reached 63, the LCCS reports that the regime continues its offensive on Al Khaldeeye, Homs , with intensive gunfire. Several military vehicles and soldiers are entering the area.

    17:10 We reported earlier about the death of 7 children in a hospital in Hama due to power cuts and the blockade imposed on the area. The Health Ministry denies the death of the 7 children saying that it is false report part of a disinformation plot.

    16:55 After 19 days of unabated pounding. the city of Homs is now devastated. The damages caused by the shelling left the city in ruins.

    Footage of Homs after 19 days of shelling.

    16:44 It only takes one video to remind us the violence of the shelling in Homs and more particularly in Baba Amro. This video reportedly shows the market in Baba Amro in flames today after being hit by a shell. We can also hear the sound of explosions in the background.

    16:40 Activists report that a funeral procession was attacked in Kafr Mhardeh, Hama. Two bombs were reportedly launched two bombs at the protesters.

    16:37 The LCCS (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) say 61 people have died today in Syria.

    16:18 Several important videos were uploaded by activists on Thursday. They all show a heavy presence of the Syrian army in different cities across Syria.

    Footage reportedly showing army tanks roaming the neighbourhood of Baba Amro, Homs

    Footage reportedly showing army vehicles in Hama

    In Deraa, similar scenes can be witnessed. This footage reportedly shows army tanks roaming the city.

    16:16 The LCCS reports that a massive demonstration has started in the neighbourhood of Mala'ab in Homs in solidarity with Baba Amro. They also reports that the Syrian Army is conducting raid in the town of Zabadany surrounding Damascus. Several arrests were reported in the Nouma area.

    In Idlib province several powerful explosions were heard due to heavy shelling including in the town of Jabal Zawiya and in Khan Shiekoun. The LCCS reports that several civilians have been hurt in Jabal Zawiya and are in critical conditions.

    In Jober in Damascus a important demonstration has also started to condemn the continuous shelling of Baba Amro. They also ask for the end of the regime.

    Security forces have been deployed in Masha' Alarba'en and Alqsour neighbourhoods in Hama.

    15:55 After French journalist Edith Bouvier recorded a message asking for a ceasefire (see 14:50), British journalist Paul Conroy who was also injured in Wednesday's attack, has also recorded a message that was posted on twitter by activist Alexander Page.

    15:32 As the death toll keeps rising in Syria, the LCCS reports that 49 people have died so far on Thursday.

    This video shows the chaos at Aleppo University. We were reporting earlier about several demonstrations being attacked by security forces. In this video we can see students running and hear gunfire. Several student were arrested.

    15:22 French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, told French daily "20 minutes" that the journalists killed in Homs on Wednesday were "assassinated and those who assassinated will be held accountable". This statement comes as activists told Al-Jazeera that "7 children died in a hospital in Hama due to an on-going power black out."

    15:18 Al-Arabiya reports that China will not attend the "Friends of Syria" conference that will take place on Friday in Tunisia.

    15:09 In Wednesday's live blog we posted a video showing journalists Paul Conroy and Edith Bouvier after the shelling of the house they were staying which resulted in the death of journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik. This video has now been translated in English.

    14:50 A very important video has been posted on Youtube today by an activist. It shows French journalist Edith Bouvier who has been injured in the attack which killed american journalist Marie Colvin on Wednesday morning. The former calls for help and ask for a ceasefire so she can transported to a hospital in Lebanon in order to get surgery.

    "Hi, my name is Edith Bouvier, French journalist reporting from Syria. Today is the 23rd of February, 3pm local time (0100 pm GMT). I am part of this group of journalists who has been injured in an attack Wednesday morning in which Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik were killed. My leg is broken at the femur. I need to get surgery. Doctors here have treated us as well as they could although considering the situation and the lack of medical supplies they can't perform any surgeries. This is why I am asking for a ceasefire and a car so I can be transported to a hospital in Lebanon"

    Another French journalist, William Daniel, then speaks on behalf of Edith Bouvier saying that she needs surgery immediately.
    "Hello, my name is William Daniels, I am a photographer, I am here with Edith, we were working for Figaro magazine and I was working also for Time magazine. I was also in the group [in which people were] killed by the explosion, I was very lucky, I have no injuries. What’s important is Edith, she must be evacuated from here. As she has explained, she has a double fracture and cannot be transported very easily. She must leave here to recover and have an operation. She is afraid but she is smiling. I hope that the French can help us quickly because it is difficult here, we have no electricity, we have very little to eat, there are bombs falling so we must leave here

    When the attack hit, we were transported here and treated very well. They have moved us from place to place to avoid the bombs and the gunfire. We are trying to communicate to the exterior but it is very difficult today with the internet and very dangerous.

    We are making this video to help you show to the world what is going on here." (Translation ANA)

    14:12 Iran president Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that the only viable solution to the conflict in Syria was the implementation of reforms by the people and certainly not foreign intervention, reports FARS. "Given their common views and positions, Iran and Russia must make more effort to help establish peace in the region and prevent foreign intervention", Ahmadinejad said quoted by FARS.

    Ali Akbar Velayati, the top foreign policy adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reasserted it support to the Syrian regime before adding that Syrian regime will not be toppled. "The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the Syrian government and will oppose those who act against Syria," Ali Akbar Velayati, the top foreign policy adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in remarks reported by the Fars news agency, quoted by Now Lebanon. "The attempt to topple the Syrian government will not become reality", he added.

    14:02The death toll has now reached 40 in Syria, including 17 unidentified corpses, three children, a media activist, and a defected soldier. 18 were killed in Idlib, 9 Deir Ezzor, 10 Hama, 2 in Daraa, and a 1 in Aleppo, reports the LCCS.


  • 27 corpses were found today in Jabal al-Zawiya in Idlib province. The 27 bodies were reportedly found handcuffed and mutilated in an official detention centre.
  • According to activists the death toll in Syria has now reached 14.
  • Many demonstrations took place in Aleppo University. The police proceeded to many arrests and also used tear gas against protesters
  • Ugarit News reported that 35 tanks and 25 troop carriers were seen heading to Homs.
  • The Syrian Foreign Minister said Thursday that the regime is not responsible for journalists' deaths. A report from the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) says the Syrian forces committed “crimes against humanity” and China refuses to say whether it will attend the "friends of Syria" conference which will take place on the 24th of February in Tunisia.
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    12:43 As a report of the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) says the Syrian forces committed “crimes against humanity” upon government orders, BBC reports the story of Abu Hoseifah who was tortured by the Syrian regime.

    "He says they poured boiling water over him and he was beaten; on his face, arms, legs and buttocks.

    They attached cables to his body, strapped him to a chair and sent electricity surging through his body.

    His bloodshot eyes are testament to 80 days of torture and sleep deprivation.

    The pink scars from cigarette burns are still bright on his hands and the back of his neck.

    Abu Hoseifah's "crime" was to attend an anti-government demonstration. He was arrested and hauled off to the cells of Military Intelligence in Damascus where he says he was abused every day until he was forced to confess to his 'crimes against the state'."

    12:34 The death toll in Syria has now reached 14, Al-Arabiya television quoting activists.

    This video posted on the facebook page of the LCCS reportedly shows residents in the town of Izaz (Aleppo) throwing stones at regime forces attempting to "storm the town".

    12:17 More on the 27 corpses found in Jabal al-Zawiya in Idlib province (see 11:56). The 27 bodies were reportedly found handcuffed and mutilated in an official detention centre.

    12:11The bombing continues unabated in Baba Amro, Homs, where the two journalists were killed yesterday. Activist @Samsomhoms, who lives in Homs tweeted earlier :

    "Shelling on #Homs especially on #BabaAmr & west part of #Inshaat hasn't stopped since the early morning until now 10:40 . #Homs #Syria"

    Footage of the shelling of Baba Amro Mosque

    11:56 Maisa Akbik, a senior producer of A-Street program DubaiTV, reports that 27 corpses have been found in Jabal al-Zawiya in Idlib province.

    11:51 In Aleppo University, the LCCS reports male and female students were beaten by Security forces and “Shabiha”, civilian-dressed men acting on behalf of the regime. Security forces reportedly used knives, batons and also fired tear gas and tear gas which corroborate what Ugarit news reported earlier (see 10:35). Their clothes were ripped off before being arrested. Military reinforcements have also been sent at Aleppo University. Regime forces have proceeded to many arrests. Students were assaulted. There are reports of ambulances that entered the campus.

    In some parts of Deraa, gunshot gunfire was heard including in Daraa-Mahata, Al-Sad Road District. In other parts of the city people are protesting against the regime (see 11:12)

    Daraa-Mahata, Al-Sad Road District

    Earlier we reported about a women protest in front of the Daraya courthouse (Damascus suburb). There are reports that three women were arrested (see 10:32)

    Here is a video of the sit-in before the intervention of security forces.

    In Irbeen (Damascus Suburbs) Regime forces raided in the neighbourhood of Basateen and areas around the Sahaba Mosque and the police station, reports the LCCS.

    11:22 The European Union is to implement stiffer sanctions on Syria, Bloomberg reported this morning.

    European Union governments plan to bolster humanitarian aid to Syria while tightening sanctions on the country, an EU official said.

    EU foreign ministers will consider options for delivering relief to the Syrian population when they meet Feb. 27 to toughen economic penalties against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the official told reporters today in Brussels on the condition of anonymity.

    The 27-nation EU is moving toward stiffer sanctions on Syria because of the government’s continued violent crackdown on civilian opponents. The new European measures, which build on an oil embargo approved last September, are due to include a freeze on the Syrian central bank’s assets and a ban on imports of precious metals from the country.

    A previous EU plan to ban imports of phosphates from Syria has been dropped because the measure didn’t get support from all member nations, the official said. On the other hand, EU governments are willing to include a ban on Syrian cargo-only flights to the bloc among the new measures, according to the official.

    11:12 Livestream of protests in Deraa today.

    10:57 The LCCS reports 11 people have died in Syria so far on Thursday.

    10:50 Ugarit News reports that 35 tanks and 25 troop carriers are heading to Homs. They tweeted:

    " #Homs: 35 tanks and 25 troop carriers are heading from #Damascus to Homs right now as military re-enforcements"

    10:46 China refused Thursday to say whether it would attend the friends of Syria conference in Tunisia tomorrow. The conference aims at ending the bloody crackdown in Syria, reports Now Lebanon. It also reports that “Al-Arabiya television reported on Thursday that the UN said a list of Syrian officials “may possibly” face charges of crimes against humanity.”

    10:37 Footage reportedly showing students protesting in Aleppo University.

    10:35 Ugarit News reports that regimes forces started firing tear gas at protesters in Aleppo University campus. According to Ugarit News tens of students have been arrested.

    10:32 In Aleppo University demonstrations continue. Yesterday several demonstrations were organised around campus. On Thursday, the LCCS reports that a “massive demonstration” started. Female students also gathered at Aleppo University to protest against the regime and in solidarity with besieged cities.

    In the city of Aleppo, regime forces have conducted a raid early this morning and arrested 15 people from the Al-Masir district, reports the LCCS.

    In Deraa, the shelling continue several people have been injured says the LCCS.

    Daraya, a town surrounding Damascus, the regime's Air Force Intelligence fired at a group of women who had staged a sit-in in front of the court.

    Still in Daraya, a student demonstration spread throughout the city. Protesters demand the release of detainees and the end of the regime.

    10:11 The Syrian Foreign Minister said Thursday that the regime is not responsible for journalists' deaths. Two journalists were killed on Wednesday (See recap down the page).

    10:09 The death toll is rising is Syria. So far 10 people have been killed including one child, reports the LCCS.

    10:01 British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he would mention the Syria issue on Thursday during a conference on the future of Somalia taking place in London on Thursday, Now Lebanon reported.

    "Britain will push for a tightening of the diplomatic and economic "stranglehold" on Syria at a meeting of regional powers in Tunisia on Friday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

    Hague said he would bring up the Syria issue on Thursday at talks on the sidelines of a major conference on the future of Somalia which is taking place in London.

    "I will be discussing today with [US Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton and many of the Arab leaders what we can achieve at that meeting [in Tunisia]. I think part of that has to be tightening a diplomatic and economic stranglehold on the Assad regime," he told the BBC.

    Hague said the failure to stop President Bashar al-Assad from killing civilians was a "deeply frustrating situation", but ruled out military action like the NATO-led offensive against Libya last year.

    Military action against Libya would be "much more complicated and would have to be on a much greater scale than in Libya, so that's not something we're likely to embark on," Hague said.

    He said the international community had "supplied food rations and other emergency supplies" to Syrians affected by the violence.

    "People have been dying in their thousands, that continues, the Assad regime continues to act seemingly with impunity," he said, a day after two western journalists were killed in shelling of the Syrian city of Homs."

    9:30 The LCCS reports that two people have died so far in Syria. Regimes forces conducted a raid in the Karamah neighbourhood of Raqqa, reports the LCCS. Several military vehicles such as tanks and cars carrying BKC machineguns were seen heading towards Karamah neighbourhood.

    Shelling and firing continue. In this video from this morning we can hear gunfire in the Maarat Naman a town, surrounding the city of Idleb.


  • Two foreign journalists, Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik were killed yesterday morning in Homs. Marie Colvin, 56, was the correspondent of The Sunday Times of London, as to Rémi Ochlik, he was a photojournalist for the French newspaper Le Figaro. Both were killed as the house where they were staying was shelled by the Syrian regime. Paul Conroy a photographer who also worked for The Sunday Times and Edith Bouvier French journalist working for French daily Le Figaro were also injured in the attack.
  • French reporter Jean-Pierre Perrin said in an interview to Radio France Info that western journalists in Syria are directly targeted. "we were told that the Syrian regime intended to kill all the journalists", he told France Info. Jean-Pierre Perrin spent 17 days in Homs (he is now in Beirut). Over the past few days he had been working with Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik.
  • European Union governments are considering implementing stiffer sanctions on Syria such as trade restrictions, a freeze on central bank assets and a ban on Syrian-run cargo flights into the 27-nation bloc, AFP reported.
  • According to activists more than 80 people were killed in Syria on Wednesday as shelling intensified since Sunday. Most of the victims were in Homs, a besieged city which has been under heavy shelling for 19 days. For Wednesday's main events see our live blog from yesterday
  • Rami al-Sayed, a Syrian citizen journalist from Homs, was also killed Tuesday night. His videos were posted under the name "syriapioneer"
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