Monday, February 6, 2012
New heavy Syrian bombardments of Homs
House on fire during bombardment of Homs, 6 February 2012.
Syrian forces bombarded Homs on Monday, killing 50 people in a sustained assault on several districts of the city, 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. Damascus denies firing on houses and says images of dead bodies on the Internet were staged.
Baba Amro being targeted.
The latest assault, which began shortly after 2 a.m. (7 p.m. ET) on Monday, appeared to be more widely targeted, with explosions in Khalidiya, Baba Amro, Bayada and Bab Dreib neighborhoods, the activists said. "They want to drive the Free Syrian Army out," said Bab Amro resident Hussein Nader by telephone, referring to the rebel force of army deserters and gunmen who have controlled parts of the city for months.
As well as those killed, 150 people had been wounded, he said. "Rockets are falling seconds apart on the same target."
Activists also said Zabadani, a town north-west of Damascus near the Lebanese border which has been largely under the control of Assad's opponents for several weeks, had come under fire on Monday.