Human Rights Watch: Satellite photos show breadth of attack on Baba Amr

GlobalPost

NEW YORK — Human Rights Watch said today that an analysis of commercial satellite imagery shows how intensely Syrian regime forces bombarded civilians in the Baba Amr neighborhood during the month-long siege of the city of Homs.

In images of the neighborhood taken Feb 25, at least 950 craters were identified in open spaces and 640 buildings showed signs of damage, the human rights organization, which is headquartered here, said. The day before the images were taken, Human Rights Watch had already accused the Syrian government of indiscriminately attacking Baba Amr civilians with high-explosive mortar bombs that are the largest ever made.

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Citing witness accounts, the organization said that approximately 700 civilians were killed and thousands more were wounded since Feb 3. Most civilian casualties were likely caused by the shelling and by sniper fire, it said.

After the imagery was taken, the Syrian army intensified its attack on Homs before retaking the city yesterday, Human Rights Watch said.

A wide view of the satellite imagery can be seen here.

Other images published by Human Rights Watch show the positions of tanks and armored vehicles, according to Human Rights Watch.

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“These new satellite photos and witness accounts show the extent of the brutality unleashed on Baba Amr," Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch’s Middle East director, was quoted as saying in the statement.

In a briefing note sent to the news media today, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed “alarm” at reports of summary executions by the Syrian army in Baba Amr.

“Enough crimes have already been committed in Syria over the past year. We urge the authorities to take immediate steps to ensure no more are committed now that they have taken control of Baba Amro,” said spokesman Rupert Colvile, using an alternate spelling of the neighborhood’s name.

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