BREAKING BAD IN HOMS: Homs’s oil refinery exploded into flames Wednesday as the FSA made good on last week’s threat to hit government-owned installations and pro-regime neighborhoods if the rebels’ ultimatum to lift the siege of the town’s blockaded areas was not honored.
“The West and Arab world have ignored Homs, but Homs’ rebels are steadfast against all the death machines the regime uses,” said Bebers al-Talawi, a well-known citizen journalist and former pastry chef who has chronicled the plight of the besieged city since the beginning of the revolution. “God willing, we will stay in Homs, either victorious or dead,” al-Talawi told Syria Direct when asked why the city had not yet fallen to the regime.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the refinery was hit by shelling around 6pm local time, with unknown casualty figures.
The FSA-affiliated General Council of Syrian Revolution in Homs claimed credit for the refinery attack on Thursday, saying it was part of its “Pouring Flames” operation. The campaign, which was previewed in a statement last week demanding the lifting of the 16-month blockade in central Homs, threatened retribution in sectarian terms against the Alawite neighborhoods in the city’s outskirts.
“The rebels are fending for themselves, creating a number of homemade factories to produce bombs, mines and mortars,” al-Talawi said.
The attack seemed to prompt a renewed assault on rebel strongholds, with the government news agency SANA reporting clashes with rebels at the al-Zara electricity plant, the Sunni enclave of Khalidiya and the National Hospital in the al-Qusour neighborhood.