Mar. 23 - Syrian forces increase attacks on rebels as more and more refugees face the trauma of being separated from their families. Sunita Rappai reports.
Heavy shelling in Homs as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vows to rid the country of rebels following the death of a leading Sunni Muslim cleric and ally. Assad made the pledge in a message of condolence over the death of Mohammed al-Buti - killed alongside dozens of worshippers by an explosion in a Damascus mosque on Thursday. Several videos uploaded to a social media website - which Reuters cannot independently verify - purportedly show the effects of government action against the rebels. Assad has used air strikes, artillery barrages and Scud-type missiles in an effort to dislodge the rebels, who control swathes of eastern and northern Syria. The humanitarian impact of the crisis was highlighted in a film by United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, which shows the increasing number of families torn apart by the fighting. This family with its few possessions is amongst thousands seeking to escape the violence by crossing into Jordan. Intisar, her daughter-in-law, two daughters and grandchildren were forced to leave after heavy shelling in their village. Her son, pictured here on the left, who accompanied his mother on the journey, heads back to Syria to protect the family's home and possessions. The growing crisis was highlighted on Friday during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Amman, where he announced an extra $200 million dollars to help Jordan cope with the influx of refugees.