Top of the Morning: Mali Crisis Worsening; Is Homs the New Benghazi?

Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service–DAWNS Digest.

The Qaddafi-Fomented Humanitarian Crisis in Mali is Getting Worse and Worse  

Tuareg rebels armed by Qaddafi are continuing their rampage in Mali. “At least 30,000 people displaced within Mali by fighting in the north since mid-January are living in dire conditions. The ICRC is assisting thousands of these people and 15,000 others displaced in neighbouring Niger. It is also visiting detainees and attending to the wounded in Mali…26,000 displaced people in and around Ménaka, 4,000 around Aguelhoc. In Aguelhoc, 150 kilometres north-east of Kidal in the north of Mali, fierce fighting forced some 4,000 people to flee their homes for nearby villages, where most are living in very difficult conditions.’Some of them were taken in by host families, but most have had to build some kind of improvised shelter under the scorching sun of this semi-desert region,’ explained Mr Eglin. ‘They are desperately short of food, and they lost some of their animals as they fled.’” (ICRC

Homs Pounded for Fifth Straight Day…A New ‘Benghazi’?

With the international community basically paralyzed, the Syrian regime kept up its assault on the city of Homs.  “Armoured reinforcements poured into Homs as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces bombarded the Syrian city for a fourth day, opposition sources said on Thursday, worsening the humanitarian situation and prompting a new diplomatic push from Turkey…Scores were killed in Homs Wednesday, according to the opposition, drawing comparison with the plight of the city of Benghazi which triggered Western attacks on Libya last year and accelerating a global diplomatic showdown whose outcome is far from clear. Activists said that at least 40 tanks and 50 infantry fighting vehicles accompanied by 1,000 soldiers were transported from the nearby border with Lebanon and from the coast and deployed in Homs. Large Sunni neighborhoods that have been the target of the heaviest rocket and mortar bombardment by Alawite-led forces loyal to Assad remained without electricity and water and basic supplies were running low, activists in Homs said.” (Reuters