Syria: 17 civilians beheaded on the outskirts of Baba Amr

18:17 Video of the ICRC confirming they have received the "green light" of the Syrian government to enter Baba Amr on Friday.

18:08 We were reporting earlier about a video showing members of the Syrian army in Baba Amr. This video reportedly shows according to Ugarit news soldiers of Syrian army running away after an attack by the Free Syrian Army on Wednesday.

Round up of the latest developments in Syria

  • The Syrian Army has taken control of Baba Amr after members of the Free Syrian Army withdrawn from the area.
  • 17 people were executed in a farm on the outskirts of Baba Amr on Thursday. They were "beheaded or partially beheaded" says AVAAZ
  • The ICRC has been given an authorization from the Syrian regime to enter Baba Amro on Friday
  • Local Coordination Committees in Syria reports that 37 people have died on Thursday in Syria, including 22 in Homs, 7 in the town of Jabatha in Qunaitara, 3 in Idlib,2 in Hama, and 1 Domair (Damascus Suburbs), 1 in Daraa and Jabal Zawyeh in Idlib
  • Britain has decided to withdraw all diplomatic staff from Syria and suspend services at its embassy in Damascus for security reasons.
  • the United Nations Human Rights Council condemned Syria on Thursday for widespread violations that may amount to crimes against humanity, called for an end to the crackdown on civilians and allow access to the U.N. and humanitarian agencies.
  • A report on the death toll in Syria by Syrian Tracker says that 9,571 people have been killed in Syria
  • The Syrian National Council, the regime's main opposition, announced it has formed a "military council" to organise and unify the Free Syrian Army

  • 16:28 Avaaz says the 17 people executed in a farm on the outskirts of Baba Amr were "beheaded or partially beheaded". (see 14:27 )

    16:23 As ICRC obtained authorization to enter Baba Amr on Friday the Local Coordination Committees in Syria report that 35 people died in Syria, among them 22 in Homs, 7 in the town of Jabatha in Qunaitara, 2 in Idlib,2 in Hama, one in Dumair "Damascus Suburbs", and one Jabal Zawyeh in Idlib

    16:19 Red Cross says it receive an authorization from the Syrian government to enter besieged Baba Amr on Friday.

    16:11 United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan will visit the Arab league's headquarters in Cairo next Wednesday and later head to Syria, the head of the pan-Arab bloc said on Thursday reports AFP.

    b>16:05 Another video from this morning showing members of the Syrian Army in the streets of Domair. (see 10:33 & 12:32 & 15:30)

    15:56 As 4000 people are believed to be trapped in Baba Amr, activists report that Syrian soldiers are invading the area street by street. (via @AlexanderPageSY)

    15:47As the Syrian National Council fear an imminent massacre, activists report that Assad forces are proceeding to mass arrests.

    Activist Alexander Page tweeted:

    "@AlexanderPageSY regime forces stormed the #BabaAmr area from the #Malaab direction and are now stationing and performing an arrest campaign #Syria"

    15:33 Activist Alexander page says regime forces are now roaming around Baba Amr. He also claims that civilians are used as human shields. He tweeted:

    "@AlexanderPageSY Regime forces are now strolling streets of #BabaAmr human shields were placed on army tanks upon going in #Homs #Syria"

    15:30 This footage shows the presence of the Syrian Army in Domair. Earlier the town of Domair was raided by security forces (see 10:33 & 12:32).

    15:27 Footage reportedly showing an army tank being deployed in Aleppo.

    15:03 A report on the death toll in Syria by Syrian Tracker (via EA Worldview) says that 9,571 people have been killed in Syria between March 18, 2011 and February 27, 2012. Syrian tracker listed the names, the places where they were killed and the date.

    This graph shows that most death occurred in Homs, according to EA Worldview (green), in February. This data coincide with the beginning of the offensive of the regime on Homs early February.

    14:58 Anti-government demonstration right now in Rastan, north of Homs.

    14:52 Activists say as the Free Syrian Army was retreating they evacuated civilians who were in a critical condition.

    "@samsomhoms While #FSA was withdrawing from BabAmr,it evacuated civilians severely injured;but some are still in #BabAmr #Homs #Syria "

    14:37 Omar shakir, citizen journalist in the media office of Baba Amr reports that the area in under heavy shelling.

    14:27 As government officials are claiming that soldiers of the Syrian army are distributing food and evacuating injured, the LCCS just reported that members of Assad army are committing a massacre in a farm in Baba Amr. 17 people have been killed so far including 6 people from the same family.

    14:15 According to a government official quoted in the French daily Le Nouvel Observateurs members of the Syrian Army are now distributing food to the population in Baba Amr and evacuating injured adding that the army were also searching for the French journalists trapped in Baba Amr.

    14:11 A Syrian government official has confirmed that the army is now in control of Baba Amr, an official told AFP.

    14:03The LCCS reports the death toll in Syria has reached 26 across Syria. 17 in Homs, 7 in Jabatha in Qunaitara, and 1 in Karnaz in Hama Suburbs, and 1 Jabal Zawyeh in Idlib

    12:43 The Free Syrian Army decided to withdraw from Baba Amr for tactical purposes. This announcement was was made in statement in which they also call on the Red Cross to enter the area and provide the humanitarian aid.

    We, the Baba Amr brigade, have decided to strategically withdraw for the sake of the civilians remaining inside the neighbourhood. The humanitarian situation is at its worst, as there is no food whatsoever, no medicines, no water and no electricity. There is no communication in the area thus making matters much worse. We are also lacking in enough arms to defend the civilians. The Assad army has destroyed most of the civilian homes up to now by use of missiles from multiple missile launchers, helicopters that have attacked Baba Amr from the skies and tank shelling using mortar shells type 120ml.

    We are now calling on the International Red Cross to immediately enter and remove all civilians, we place full responsibility on them in that they must enter and save the people and hand them all aid necessary to keep them alive. The families have refused to leave, thus they must be provided with aid immediately. They have refused to leave their destroyed homes, homes that have been blown up during the barbaric attacks for the last month. The number of civilians refusing to leave is around 4000.

    We warn the Assad regime against any reaction that will target civilians and we place full responsibility on the regime for the safety of the civilians who are caught in the middle of this. We warn, any action by the regime that crosses the limits and affects civilians will see a severe response from our side.

    We promise you, the people of Syria, Baba Amr will remain the eye and heart of this revolution until we gain full victory. Whatever the price we have to pay and whatever we have to give up...we are returning stronger God willing.

    12:32 Earlier we were reporting about the situation in Domair (Damascus suburbs) (see 10:33), activist @AlexanderPageSY is now saying that he has lost all contact with people in Domair and said their last message was "please tell the world what is happening to us they are coming in now"

    "@AlexanderPageSY #Dmeir the last we spoke to a contact in the area he said "please tell the world what is happening to us they are coming in now" #Damascus"

    12:22 In this video, sounds of gunfire reportedly filmed in Hamedia, Homs on Wednesday

    12:19 Reuters reports pounding is continuing in Baba Amr, Homs. The fighting left many casualties on both sides.

    Elite Syrian forces trying to destroy rebels besieged in Homs pounded the shattered district of Baba Amro on Thursday, despite international alarm at the plight of civilians trapped there.

    Snow blanketed the city, slowing down the military assault, but also worsening conditions for civilians, activists said.

    "We have not seen such snow in Homs in years. The bombardment on Baba Amro and other parts of the city is continuing but the fighting has subsided after the army was repelled yesterday," activist Abu Imad said from Homs.

    He said casualties on both sides had been heavy, but no tally was available because of the fighting and bad weather.

    11:56 Elite forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad shelled a rebel bastion in Homs on Thursday which " appears to be a final push on the opposition stronghold after more than three weeks of siege and bombardment" Reuters reports activists as saying.

    "A senior official in the rebel Free Syrian Army told Reuters rebels in the district of Baba Amro were fending off more than 7,000 government troops. Opposition forces had promised to step up attacks elsewhere in Syria to try to relieve the pressure

    "Baba Amro will be the straw that will break the regime's back," Mohaimen al-Rumaid told Reuters from an area in Turkey near the Syrian border.

    "All of Syria is turning into Baba Amro."

    Heavy shelling resumed overnight after several hours of sporadic bombardment, opposition sources in the city said.

    They said rebels had repelled an attempt by government forces to advance into Baba Amro from the Hakoura area on its northern edge, but diplomats said earlier Syria's feared 4th Armoured Division seemed determined to overrun the district."

    11:51 As communications are cut off, the flow of footage coming from Homs has substantially diminished. A rare video found by Enduring America reportedly shows regime soldiers moving through Baba Amr on Wednesday. The Syrian Army supposedly never entered Baba Amr on Wednesday.

    10:57 Despite the cold weather and the snow people continue demonstrating, including in the town of Harah in Deraa.

    10:56 Morning demonstration in Maar Shoreen, Idlib.

    10:54 A morning demonstration demanding the release of detained women and in solidarity with Homs in Inkhel, Deraa.

    10:53 The army is conducting raid in the city of Qunaitara. Many people were arrested, report the LCCS. The villages of Jabata Khashab, Kawn, Ayn Nourieh and Hamidieh were particularly targeted.

    Abaza Hospital was shut down to the massive presence of security forces thus preventing the wounded from receiving treatment.

    10:33 Earlier this morning the Syrian Army conducted raids in the town of Domair, located in the Damascus suburbs, have reported the LCCS. “A large number of soldiers” accompanied with Tanks and armoured vehicles were deployed in the city. All exits and entrances were blocked. Clashed erupted between the Free Syrian Army and regime force. Dozens of civilians were arrested and all communications and the electricity have been cut off

    10:20 BBC reports that Syrian forces have tightened their stranglehold on the city of Homs on Thursday.

    "Syrian forces have tightened their stranglehold on the city of Homs, a day after launching a ground assault on the rebellious Baba Amr district."
    Communication with the area has been largely cut off, and people are struggling to get in or out.
    Syrian officials said their forces were "mopping up", but activists insisted the attack had been repelled.

    10:11 Reuters reports that the United Nations Human Rights Council condemned Syria on Thursday for widespread violations that may amount to crimes against humanity, called for an end to the crackdown on civilians and allow access to the U.N. and humanitarian agencies.
    37 states voted in favor, 3 voted against including China and Russia, and 3 abstained (India, Philippines and Ecuador).

    10:08 Al-Arabiya reports that the Head of Syrian National Council (SNC) announced the launch of a military council to support the Free Syrian Army (FSA). This announcement was made on Thursday at a press conference in Paris.

    9:57 William Hague, British foreign secretary announced on Twitter the British embassy staff have been withdrawn from Syria for security reasons, full report here. He tweeted:

    @WilliamJHague I have informed Parliament that I have withdrawn British diplomats from #Syria & suspended our Embassy there for security reasons

    9:50 In Syria the Humanitarian situation is deteriorating. Activists reports that water and electricity have been cut off in Homs. There is a shortage of food and the snow which has started fallen on Homs is not helping the situation.

    Footage reportedly showing civilians attempting to recuperate the snow as water shortage is getting worse.

    Round up of the latest developments in Syria

  • Wednesday's main event in Syria was a possible fight for the control of Baba Amr after AP reported that a Syrian official said Baba Amr will be "cleaned" within hours. In the end the army did not enter Baba Amr and the Free Syrian Army reportedly pushed away the 4th Division which is supposed to be the most powerful unit within the Syrian National Army.
  • Al-Arabiya reports that the Kuwaiti parliament agrees to support the Free Syrian Army and calls for an international trial for Assad's regime.
  • The U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan, said on Wednesday he expected to visit Syria "fairly soon" and called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to engage with efforts to put an end to the bloody repression, reports Reuters.
  • Libya announced on Wednesday that it will donate $100 million in humanitarian aid to Syrians in a bid to support their battle for "freedom" against the "dictatorial regime" of Bashar al-Assad.
  • China said it backs international efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Syria.
  • Valerie Amos, the UN's under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, has been refused entry into Syria on Wednesday.
  • Gulf foreign ministers will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Saudi capital next week to discuss developments in Syria.
  • The secretary general of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, raised the possibility of arming rebel forces in Syria, if the international community failed to end the violence, reports The Guardian.

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