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Terrified Syrians Run for Their Lives

Published: 13/03/2012 05:19:24 PM GMT
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HOMS - Shrouded in dark night, terrified Syrian women and children in Syria's third largest city Homs trod through the woods and routes towards Lebanes (more)

HOMS - Shrouded in dark night, terrified Syrian women and children in Syria's third largest city Homs trod through the woods and routes towards Lebanese borders to escape with their lives from a bloody security crackdown on their homes.“I had to take the risk of walking in the woods with my children into Lebanon, but at least they are safe here,” Asma, who ran to Lebanon with her three daughters and two sons, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) by phone on Tuesday, March 13.

Hearing the news of massacre in Homs neighborhood of Karm al-Zeitoun, where women were reportedly raped and children slaughtered, Asma decided to escape no matter at what cost.

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Getting help from opposition activists, she was smuggled into Lebanon on Monday night, abandoning her home in Bab al-Sibaa, close to where the bodies were found.

“We heard and saw on television what happened in Karm al-Zeitoun, and how women were raped in front of their fathers and husbands, and how children had their throats slit, so we decided to escape,” said Asma, who is now staying at the Islamic hospital in the northern city of Tripoli.

The world woke up to the shocking news that dozens of civilians were killed in Homs on Monday in what opposition groups called a "massacre" by forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad.

Syrian activists in Homs said 57 bodies, including 26 children and 21 women, some with their throats slit and others bearing stab wounds, were found in the Karm al-Zeitoun and Al Adawiyeh neighborhoods of the besieged city.

Syrian authorities accused “terrorist gangs” of being behind the killings with the aim of sparking an international outcry against Damascus.

Yet, some activists linked the massacre to the latest women-only protests organized across Syria to highlight the suffering of their families.

Similar killings have occurred previously in limited scopes; however, the high number of victims this time was believed to show they are now being targeted with lethal violence.

“The world hears 20 percent of what this regime is doing to the people of Syria,” Asma said.

Night Escape

Syrian Relief Council in Tripoli said that 50 families had crossed into Lebanon in the past 24 hours, most of them women and children.

Most of the recently arrivals, including children as young as 5, “have not slept for the past 24 hours, have not had a hot meal, and spent long hours walking in the cold,” a doctor at the hospital, who requested anonymity, told DPA.

Raidaa, a 20-year-old girl, was one of them.

The young woman escaped Homs with her mother, leaving a father and two brothers in the area of Bab al-Sibaa.

“We do not know if we will go back to our house soon, or if we will see my father and two brothers again,” she said tearfully.

“I tell the world community the meetings will not do the people of Syria any good,” Raidaa said in reference to ongoing talks with Assad.

“The people are awaiting a firm stance to protect them, because this regime is heartless and has no mercy, not even on children.”

UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser said on Tuesday, March 13, that more than 8,000 people have died since anti-government protests erupted in Syria a year ago.

Syrian authorities blame foreign-backed armed groups for the violence, saying they have killed 2,000 soldiers and police.

News from Syria cannot be independently verified as the government bans journalists from entering restive areas.

Reproduced with permission from