Syria: Urban Warfare in the Contested City of Homs

Posted: June 24, 2012 in Sideviews
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There is a new report by ANNA-News from Homs, Syria. This new report illustrates the current situation in the city of Homs, which is hard-fought since 6 months, and shows which resources have to be used against the “peaceful opposition”.

Below is the transcript of this Russian-language video post by ANNA-news. For orientation, the text of the time code was added to the appropriate point in the video in some key places.

Source: ANNA-News

Homs is the third largest city of Syria, before the war about 2 million inhabitants lived here, of whom currently still live at most half in the city. The city is playing an important role as transport infrastructure nodes for the country’s economy.

Near the city, there are located the largest oil refinery in the Middle East, which supplies the largest part of Syria with fuel. Oil pipelines run through the Syrian city of Homs in the direction of the Mediterranean ports of Tartous and Baniyas from the Syrian oil field Karachuk in the extreme northeast of the country, and also from the more distant Iraqi oil fields.

From Homs, the pipelines run to the country’s largest cities – Damascus, Aleppo and also in the province of Latakia.

The original plan of the armed groups was to bring Homs and thus the Magistrale Homs-Hama-Idleb under their control, in order to cut off the important transport artery Damascus-Aleppo, what had de facto triggered a divided Syria, a Syria divided into three parts.

From Homs to Lebanon, it`s only 30 kilometers, which can be overcome by weapons smugglers with relative ease.

The command and the strategist behind the armed rebel groups are aware of the strategic importance of Homs, they are very aware of the strategic importance, the battles with the mercenaries and infiltrated gangs here already last more than a half year.

Following the successful liberation of the unofficial “capital” of the rebellion, the urban area of Homs, the district of Baba Amr (Bab Amro), and the Syrian army cleans piece by piece the other districts from the intrenched bandits, who occupy them.

[Marat Musin at minute 1:17] The blue buildings there are located in the district Khaldeeye, which is controlled by the armed rebels. They are now more or less surrounded in this district and in the district of Al Khaldeeye. There are constant attempts by the rebels to break out of the surrounded area and to move into the districts which they know better.

[Marat Musin at minute 01:30] Currently, about 2,000 rebels are in Al Khaldeeye, a traditionally Sunni district, and they are also surrounded in the Christian district of Al Hameediye. In the latter, there still remain around 100 civilians, the rebels prevent that the civilians can leave the area. Here one can confidently speak of an abuse as “human shields”.

[Marat Musin at minute 01:51] We are included in a combat position of the Syrian army, in pitched battles with real terrorists, who are armed to the teeth. All reports about the fact that “peaceful demonstrators” are living in the Syrian city of Homs and that the city is a “stronghold of the opposition”, is refuted by what one can hear behind my back.

The correspondents of ANNA-News were at the forefront of the positions of the Republican Guard and those of the Syrian Special Forces. The Republican Guard has its positions in the private sector of the district Juret Al Shayah. Each open area is covered by the snipers of the terrorists, the soldiers of the guard move through the many holes, which are dug into the sides of buildings, around the neighborhood.

The enemy is very close – often less than 30-40 meters away. Step by step, the guards fight forward, and liberate house to house from the armed fighters. This is done with enormous care, since the enemy can suddenly appear at a distance of only a few steps. There are frequent exchanges of fire.

From the intensity of the clashes, a sad event can speak of – a few days ago a soldier was wounded behind a cover on a site, which is located just 15 meters away from a position of the Syrian army.

The heavy sniper fire made it not possible to help him or put him out of the firing line. A day later, the soldier died, and another five days, one was still not able to fetch the body of the dead soldiers from the location that is covered by the shots of the snipers. Regardless of one’s own casualties among the soldiers, there is a determined spirit, no one doubts that the city will be cleared from the bandits.

[Marat Musin at minute 03:29] Also the terrorists are suffering losses. Recently at this point, there was a field hospital of the rebels. Everywhere is high quality, modern medical technology scattered on the ground; the comfortable patient rooms were destroyed.

In the six months of the battles with the “peaceful opposition”, this Special Forces unit of 500 man has lost 100 men; dead and seriously wounded

Many officers were wounded, a large part several times. The type of fighting in the city can best be described as trench warfare and sniper battles.

[04:00] To protect against the snipers, roll of cloth were stretched across the streets.

[At minute 04:06] The height of this building allows the controlling of the streets within a radius of two kilometers, to prevent major failures of rebel groups, and to make their transport routes impassable. By the use of large caliber machine guns, which are installed on the upper floors of this tower, particularly snipers, transportation and utility vehicles of the terrorists are taken under fire. From this tower, to the buildings that are occupied by the rebel gangs, there are only 300 meters, but the most forward positions of the special units have already moved further forward.

[At minute 04:34] In the field of combat, there are doctors from the Red Crescent active, they bring dead and wounded out of the neighborhoods. We meet with one of their vehicles – the grim-looking doctors took away the corpse of another victim of the armed rebels.

[At minute 04:50] Despite the fact that it always comes to exchanges of fire in a short distance, children are playing here in the immediate rear area of the Special Forces – this territory is already considered as safe.

Marat Musin, Olga Kulygina; News agency ANNA-News.

Source / Based on the translation of:


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