Battle for Baba Amr – timelineBy
Key dates in the fight between the Syrian regime and rebel forces for the Baba Amr district of Homs
3 February: Protesters mark 30th anniversary of a massacre in nearby Hama, when up to 20,000 people were killed under the orders of President Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez. Free Syrian Army rebels are filmed in control of captured tanks in the Baba Amr area.
4 February: Activists claim 200 people are killed on the opening day of the bombardment, the highest death toll reported for a single day in the 11-month uprising.
5 February: The BBC’s Paul Wood, reporting from near Homs, describes “pretty constant shelling”.
6 February: A makeshift field hospital is hit in Baba Amr, killing 19 people, according to reports. A gas pipeline nearby is attacked.
7 February: Britain and the US recall their ambassadors to Damascus in protest at the Assad regime’s “murderous” behaviour towards its own civilians. Omar Shakir, an activist in Baba Amr, says: “It was unbelievable in Bab al-Amr today. There was shelling everywhere: machine guns, mortars, everything.”
8 February: Video footage shows residential areas being pounded by shells. Resident claim they are under “genocidal attack”. “Where’s freakin UN? Why isn’t anyone helping us?” Homs activist Danny Abdul Dayem says in one of several video appeals.
10 February: Activists claim rockets are hitting Baba Amr at the rate of one every three minutes. The Guardian’s Martin Chulov reports intense fighting near Homs: “As we get closer to Homs there is a lot more fighting. There is gunfire all around, rockets are landing.”
A doctor in Baba Amr, Muhammad al-Muhammad, says prematurely born babies are dying in the area because of the lack of incubators.
13 February: Chulov says the siege of Homs has been tightened and the city is all but sealed off.
20 February: The International Committee of the Red Cross tries to negotiate a ceasefire in Homs.
21 February: Activists count 250 shells landing in one morning. Citizen journalist Rami al-Sayed is killed. His YouTube channel Syria Pioneer documented hundreds of clips of the government’s crackdown.
22 February: The Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlik are killed in an attack on a makeshift media centre. Two other journalists, Paul Conroy and Edith Bouvier, are wounded.
24 February: The Red Crescent rescues seven wounded people from Baba Amr, but the wounded journalists refuse to leave.
27 February: A mosque in Baba Amr is filmed being shelled.
28 February: Thirteen activists are killed when Conroy is safely smuggled out of Homs.
29 February: A ground invasion of the Baba Amr area begins from the direction of the al-Bassel football stadium.
1 March: The Free Syrian Army announces its withdrawal from Baba Amr. Within an hour the Syrian government declares it has taken control of the area.
from Matthew Weaver