Homs survivor asks Clinton to help Syrian rebels

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A young Syrian pro-democracy activist pleaded with Hillary Clinton on Sunday to support Syrian rebels, telling the U.S. secretary of state of the violence in her home city of Homs.

“I told Secretary Clinton that the regime is continuing to shell Homs with the aim of depopulating it and that hundreds of civilians are being killed or wounded every week,” Medya Daghestani told Reuters after meeting Clinton in Istanbul along with Syrian opposition leaders.

“I told her the people of Homs have nowhere to go and the neighborhoods they escape to, in turn, come under shelling,” said Daghestani, in her 20s. “We need support for the Free Syrian Army, because only force can counter the killings.”

Government troops again bombarded part of Homs on Saturday, despite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s acceptance of a peace plan proposed by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Daghestani, who fled Homs four months ago, met Clinton at a “Friends of Syria” conference in Istanbul, did not say how she had responded. The activist asked Clinton to take up the cause of two of her colleagues arrested by Syrian security forces.

Noura Jizwazi and Ali Othman were detained after circulating images of events during a month-long assault on the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs by Assad’s forces earlier this year.

Daghestani said Jizwazi was arrested near Damascus four days ago, while Othman was captured in the northern city of Aleppo.

The opposition Syrian National Council leader Burhan Ghalioun, a secular academic, and Imadeldin Rachid, a liberal Islamist, also attended the meeting with Clinton.

Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Alistair Lyon