A year into the Syrian uprising, with the world community reluctant to intervene, one international group has taken a direct and risky role in Syria — even taking part in the high-profile rescue of Western journalists from the besieged city of Homs.
Avaaz, a global online pressure group based in New York, has given crucial support to the uprising and the Syrian activist networks that aim to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Syrian activists blamed pro-government militiamen for the latest killing of civilians in the city of Homs. At least a dozen people, including children, were killed, state media confirmed, saying instead that the perpetrators were "armed terrorists."
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 12 people were killed, but the Local Coordination Committee had a much higher figure – 45, according to The Associated Press.
The AP quoted the LCC and the Observatory as saying:
It could be a scene from almost any school in the world: rows of young kids reciting their lessons, the girls dressed in shades of pink and sporting Hello Kitty backpacks, the boys in dark clothing, looking a little restless.
But this makeshift school is in a concrete farmhouse on the outskirts of Antakya, in southern Turkey's Hatay province near the border with Syria. And the 156 students — aged 6 to 13 — are all refugees from cities and towns across Syria.