Syrian rebels have killed at least 11, including civilians, in an attack on a checkpoint near the town of Homs. The day before, government troops reportedly killed at least 16 people in the northern city of Aleppo.
Christians represented most of those killed in Saturday’s attack near Homs, activists and residents said. The dead included members of the National Defense Army, a militia that fights alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers, as well as civilians, according to the activists and residents.
On the telephone with the Associated Press news agency, Eleya Dhaher, archbishop of the Wadi al-Nasarra region, which includes the villages where the attack occurred, said that ”it seems that tension and the sectarian rift have reached a level where no area can enjoy peace.”
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in addition to the 16 deaths – including four children – at government hands in Aleppo (pictured), at least 150 people were reported killed across Syria on Friday. The civil war has led to the deaths of more than 100,000 people since it began as a 2011 uprising against 40 years of dynastic rule by al-Assad’s family. Nearly 2 million more people have fled Syria as refugees.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that rebel gunmen had attacked the checkpoint on Saturday, killing five militia fighters and six civilians, including two women. The Observatory reported that the rebel fighters had also sustained losses. The Britain-based organization reported that nine Christians had died in the attack.
Christians make up about 10 percent of Syria’s population and fear themselves particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country of 22 million people. Some Christians have joined the pro-Assad forces, fearing for their future should rebels topple the president, now that Islamist brigades, some with links to al Qaeda, have joined the revolution.
mkg/jm (AFP, AP)