Syrian assault on Homs kills 50: report
Beirut, February 6, 2012
Syrian forces bombarded Homs on Monday, killing 50 people in a sustained assault on several districts of the city which has become a centre of armed opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian National Council opposition group said.
'The tally that we have received from various activists in Homs since the shelling started at six this morning is 50, mostly civilians,' the group's Catherine al-Talli told Reuters.
'The regime is acting as if it were immune to international intervention and has a free hand to use violence against the people,' she said.
The bombardment came a day after the United States promised harsher sanctions against Damascus in response to Russian and Chinese vetoes of a draft U.N. resolution that would have backed an Arab plan urging Assad to step aside.
'This is the most violent bombardment in recent days,' said one activist in Syria who was in touch with Homs residents.
Another activist said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were using multiple rocket launchers in the attack.
Arab satellite television stations broadcast live footage from Homs. Explosions could be heard and smoke was seen rising from some buildings.
Activists said more than 200 people were killed on Friday night when tanks and artillery blasted the Khalidiya neighbourhood of Homs. It was the highest reported death toll in a single day since the uprising against Assad's rule, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, erupted last March.