Homs Protest 17.7.11
Homs Protest 17.7.11 Israel news photo: Screen Capture

Unidentified attackers killed a nuclear engineer in the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday, a local human rights group said.

In a statement it released and which was quoted by AFP, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, “Nuclear engineer Aws Abdel Karim Khalil was killed this morning by unknown attackers.”

The murder comes after on Tuesday in the same city, unidentified attackers killed Mohamed Ali Aqil, deputy rector of the architecture faculty at Al Baath University, and Nael Dakhil, director of the military petrochemical school.

Human rights activists in Homs are accusing Syrian authorities of carrying out the killings. The activists, who set up an alliance under the name Al Ghad, accused the authorities of having “killed scientific personalities in Homs, trying to repeat the scenario of assassinations” perpetrated in Syria in the 1980s.

The Syrian state news agency, SANA, reported things differently, saying that Khalil “was martyred on Wednesday by the fire of an armed terrorist group.”

A source in the Hama governorate told SANA that the scientist was shot in the head, which caused his immediate death.

Syria has been facing a wave of anti-regime protests since March. President Bashar Assad’s government has cracked down on the protesters using brutal force. Some 2,700 civilians, including 100 children, have been killed in the Assad crackdown so far.

The government has refused to acknowledge that there is an uprising against Assad, instead choosing to blame blamed foreign forces and “terrorists” for inciting the protests. Syria state television has even shown footage of “terrorists” confessing to building bombs in order to attack civilians and Syrian forces.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the authorities in Homs seized Israeli ammunition. The report was only reported by SANA and not confirmed elsewhere and might have been a Syrian attempt to pin the protests on Israel.

Some of Assad’s forces have defected and joined the protesters, taking refuge in Homs and launching an armed campaign against Assad’s troops.

The dissident army’s leader said on Tuesday that “it is the beginning of an armed rebellion” against Assad and that “'you cannot remove this regime except by force and bloodshed.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)