“Every minute counts. People will soon start to collapse from lack of sleep and shortages in food,” is how activist Omar Shaker, based in the Syrian city of Homs, put it Thursday, as the Syrian government resumed shelling an opposition neighborhood in the city of Homs.
Hundreds have been killed in the three week long siege of the city by government forces. Yesterday's reported death toll of 30 included two Western journalists. Residents in some neighborhoods are reportedly running out food, water, and medical supplies.
U.S., European, and Arab officials are working on an ultimatum today to demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad cease fire and allow humanitarian aid into the country. The group, calling itself "Friends of Syria," is meeting on Friday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be there and the advance word is that they will require Syria to comply within 72 hours.
One of the Western journalists killed was longtime war correspondent, Marie Colvin.
"I watched a little baby die today," Colvin told the BBC from the embattled city of Homs on Tuesday in one of her final reports.
"Absolutely horrific, a 2-year old child had been hit," added Colvin, who worked for Britain's Sunday Times. "They stripped it and found the shrapnel had gone into the left chest and the doctor said, 'I can't do anything.' His little tummy just kept heaving until he died."
Colvin and photographer Remi Ochlik were among a group of journalists who had crossed into Syria and were sharing accommodations with activists, raising speculation that government forces targeted the makeshift media center, although opposition groups had previously described the shelling as indiscriminate. At least two other Western journalists were wounded.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
- Joshua Landis, Director of The Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
This segment aired on February 23, 2012.