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Posted at 09:43 AM ET, 02/10/2012

Syria satellite images show government is using artillery and mortars against Homs

In a note posted Thursday to his Facebook page, U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford shared satellite photos that showed the Syrian government is using artillery and mortars against residential neighborhoods in Homs.


(Facebook)

Ford call the photos “disturbing” and “proof” the regime is using these weapons against its own citizens.

“The Syrian government consistently initiates the attacks on civilian areas, and it is using its heaviest weapons,” he wrote.


A view of a damaged house in the Sunni Muslim district of Bab Amra in Homs on Feb. 9. (Reuters)

Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, has increasingly become the focus of the uprising, as the rebel Free Syrian Army has tried to seize control of the city.

In his note, Ford warned the international community not to equate the actions of the military with the Free Syrian Army, which he said had never used artillery.

According to al-Jazeera, citing activists and doctors on the ground,105 people were killed Friday in Syria — 93 of them in Homs.

The United Nations estimates that more than 5,400 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March.

In his note, Ford also addressed Monday’s decision to close the U.S. embassy in Syria because of security concerns.

“I can say without exaggeration that February 6 was the most emotionally taxing day of my career,” he wrote. “I left Damascus with immense sadness and regret — I wish our departure had not been necessary.”

But Ford said he would continue on as ambassador to Syria, and work to secure a “peaceful transition” for the Syrian people.

“My year in Syria tells me such a transition is possible,” he wrote, “but not when one side constantly initiates attacks against people taking shelter in their homes.”

See more photos of the violence in Syria:

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By  |  09:43 AM ET, 02/10/2012

Tags:  World, Syria, Robert Ford, Homs, satellite photos

 
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