The United Nations’ latest call for peace between the Syrian army and rebel fighters did not help much, as fresh clashes once again broke out across the country on Thursday.
Activists confirmed with Al-Arabiya television that at least 12 people, including women and children, were killed in Sermin, Idlib Province—the latest city to bear the brunt of the Syrian army’s assault. A bus filled with women, children, and others was shot with assault rifles as it was trying to leave the northern city for Turkey.
On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council, including Russia and China, called on both sides to end all violence and human rights violations, while allowing humanitarian aid corridors. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the peace plan “clear and unified” but stressed that Syria needs to act quickly.
The army carried out attacks on other areas across the country, including near the port city of Latakia and near Daraa, the city where the yearlong uprising began, activists told Al-Arabiya.
However, the border town of al-Qusayr has suffered intense attacks from the Syrian army in recent days, Human Rights Watch said.
“Witnesses describe heavy shelling of residential neighborhoods, snipers shooting residents on the streets, and attacks on fleeing residents,” the New York-based rights group stated on Thursday.
It added that humanitarian conditions are grave, with rampant food and water shortages, along with cut communications lines and no medical assistance.
In descriptions provided by witnesses, the assault in al-Qusayr is similar to the situations in Homs and Idlib, which have both been shelled heavily for months by the army in an attempt to quash rebel fighters. There were reports that some members of the Free Syria Army fled the Homs district of Baba Amr and moved to al-Qusayr.
“[The] attacks on protesters, destruction of property, home raids, and sniper attacks … have been going on for several months, but that the army began heavy shelling of residential areas between one and three months ago,” HRW said.