voiceofrussia.com – 611 civilians evacuated from opposition-controlled old town – Homs governor
UN says it will continue to deliver humanitarian aid to civilians in the Syrian city of Homs
Syria: “There are Terrorists from 83 Countries, Armed and Funded by Saudi Arabia”
Patrick Cockburn – Syria conflict: An ordinary family, a terrible war, With jihadis at their door, terrified Maysoun, Nizar, Karim and Bishr reached for grenades rather than face torture and inevitable death at the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra
It is a terrible story but it throws a grim light on the terrors of the Syrian war. It is told at first in a calm, precise voice by Nusair Mahla, a middle-aged government employee, until he finally has to choke back tears as he speaks of the last moments of his sister Maysoun Hala and her husband Nizar along with their two children, Karim and Bishr. He says that many other Syrians have suffered similar tragedies, but in few cases is it known so precisely what the victims themselves thought about their fate.
Nusair, a neatly dressed man in a brown suit, says the first he knew about his sister’s family being in danger was an early morning phone call. He recalls it came after 6.30am and was from neighbours who said that insurgents, whom he invariably calls ”terrorists”, had entered the industrial town of Adra 12 miles north of Damascus and were taking hostages. This happened on 11 December when fighters from the al-Qa’ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic Front, another jihadi group, had captured the main employees’ residential complex at Adra using an old sewer to outflank government forces.
Keane Bhatt – The Hypocrisy of Human Rights Watch
In the summer of 2013, for example, when the prospect of a unilateral U.S. missile strike on Syria—a clear violation of the UN Charter—loomed large, HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth speculated as to whether a simply “symbolic” bombing would be sufficient. “If Obama decides to strike Syria, will he settle for symbolism or do something that will help protect civilians?” he asked on Twitter. Executive director of MIT’s Center for International Studies John Tirman swiftly denounced the tweet as “possibly the most ignorant and irresponsible statement ever by a major human-rights advocate.”