Arab League observer wounded in Syria shelling, report


A member of the Arab League observer mission to Syria was wounded Monday in shelling in the Homs province, a prominent Syrian activist told DPA.

Mustashar Mahgoub was injured in an attack in Baba Amr neighborhood, according to the activist, who requested anonymity.

Mahgoub, in an interview with Al Arabiya television, said he was wounded but did not say how and when. “Our people managed to take four observers from their Damascus Hotel (Sham Hotel) without the notification of the Syrian government on Sunday night to show them the reality of what is happening inside the neighborhoods of Baba Amr and Khailidyeh,” the activist said.

“While we were touring the area the shelling started and he was wounded by the fire of the Syrian security forces,” he added.

Meanwhile, amateur video shot by anti-government Syrian activists showed carnage in Baba Amr, and locals said they were afraid to leave their homes on Monday as army tanks appeared to fire machineguns and mortars into residential areas.

Four bodies of what appeared to be male civilians lay bloodied under fallen power lines in a narrow alleyway of the district. “This is Baba Amr, December 26, 2011, and the random shelling is still falling on the neighborhood,” a voice shouted over women’s screams. “These are the martyrs thrown in the streets. Allahu akbar (God is great),” the man’s voice shouted.

Residents said they were too terrified to venture outside. One described to Reuters a state of siege. “They’ve been doing a few surprise rounds of firing every few hours since early morning,” construction worker Tamir told Reuters by telephone.

Three other video segments said to have been filmed in Homs on Monday morning showed two tanks facing in opposite directions next to an apartment block. One was firing a heavy weapon, possibly a tank-mounted mortar.

A third tank, its commander standing up in the sand-bagged turret, maneuvered along the street. There were constant bursts of heavy machinegun fire and the sound of sniper rifles.

A third video showing a tank recorded a loud explosion, like the sound of its main gun firing. Finally, after a flash and a loud blast, the screen went white.

“If we go out, we have to stay in the alley our house is on. If we move past there we might get shot at,” construction worker Tamir said. “Two people in the neighbouhood were just wounded by machineguns.”

DPA, Reuters