Once Again Terrorism Strikes Homs

For the second time I have been to Homs city in less than a month. I went to al-Abasseyah quarter which was savagely struck once more by the malevolent armed terrorist mercenary groups, but this time the attack was larger, more violent and bloody. It resulted in the martyrdom of more than one hundred civilians and hundreds of others wounded.

Since the beginning of the crisis, people of this quarter have used to experience all types of the terrorists' perfidious weapons including sniping, random mortars shelling and locally-made missiles as well as destroying the houses and killing the people on the streets. Their systematic aggression did not stop at this point, they have recently escalated their killing machine to become booby-trapped cars, bombs and missiles that have targeted, in the past few weeks, schools, shops and markets which are usually frequented by the poor and the low-income people.

Most of the quarter's inhabitants are displaced from other neighboring districts. Although they call it a pro-regime  quarter or the safe quarter, one couldn't  but be astonished when he walks through its roads and lanes, by the great number of the images and posters of martyrs and kidnapped sons.

 I am quite intimate with this district and have visited it many times before the crisis. People are good-hearted, generous and proactive. Most of them came from the countryside to seek work in the city for living.

In the past, Homs was called "mother of the poor "because everyone could manage to keep afloat as the prices of commodities were affordable. Nowadays, Homs has become the "mother of martyrs ", not only the martyrs who are fighting on all fronts defending their city, but also the martyrs who die as a result of the  shells, random mortars, sniping, bombs and booby-trapped cars.

I started from Al-Ahli Hospital, where there were a large number of martyrs and wounded being the nearest to the explosion site. What I saw there was beyond any description. The number of martyrs exceeded sixty and most of them were children and students. The wounded were thronging the hospital corridors and rooms.  My relative who is a doctor there told me: "I have lived through the whole crisis in this hospital, but what happened yesterday was terribly sad and incredibly harrowing.

 I cannot describe the state of the children and women who came to the hospital. Most of the wounded were in critical condition and those who died arrived mutilated. “She stopped trying to control her wavering voice and trembling hands but finally she burst into tears and said: "Excuse me I'm so confused and exhausted. I did not leave the operation room for very long hours and really do not know how many hours I have spent there to an extent that I was afraid of losing my mind. "

Opposite to the hospital building there was a house teaming with a multitude of people. When I approached to know what was going on, one of the young men told me that the owner of this house has opened his house to receive the bodies of the martyrs to be enshrouded after taking them out of the hospital because the number of martyrs' bodies was larger than anything to house in one place. Consternation and agony freezes the facial expressions of the people.

Tears fell silently. I heard a bereaved mother, who was still in shock shedding bitter tears of sadness and pain, saying: “what is our sin? What have we done to those criminals to kill our children in this manner?"

I scurried to the explosion location where no one can really describe the terribly devastated quarter. The terrorist bombing resulted in massive destruction in the surrounding buildings that have been completely damaged. More than fifty cars were torched.

 Work on removing the debris of damaged homes and cars was in full swing.  When I asked one of the supervisors about the number of people affected by the explosion, he said:" the explosion claimed more than 100 lives. They either died in their homes or blown apart when they were passing by the place. Entire families have disappeared under the rubble."

He added: "Most of the victims were children and students returning from their schools in addition to mothers who poured into the streets after the first blast searching for their children to meet their death in the second bombing that took place ten minutes later.

Abou Housein, who has lost all his family in the explosion said: "No word can describe this excruciating way of killing. I have lost my two children and my wife. My younger brother and his little daughter were martyred in the last explosion. Our neighbor Abou Ali has lost his four children in addition to his wife and his mother. The whole place has been turned into hell. How long will we be mere figures in the tools of the dirty black death leaking through the borders?" he asked in bitter tears.

Amal Farhat--Homs