Syria Crisis: Shelling Kills Hundreds in Homs

Syria crisis: Shelling ‘kills dozens’ in restive HomAmateur video shows the continued shelling of Homs.

The Syrian army has launched fresh mortar and rocket attacks in the city of Homs, as the government continues a push aimed at crushing rebel forces.

Activists say 95 people have been killed so far on Thursday. Hundreds have reportedly died since last week.

Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, has been a leading focus of unrest in the 11-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the “appalling brutality” of the onslaught.

The international community is struggling to find a way to resolve the crisis after Russia and China blocked a UN resolution drafted by Arab and European countries on Saturday.

Shashank JoshiAssociate fellow, Royal United Services Institute

The most important factor [in the resilience of the Syrian army] is the deepening and widening of the uprising over recent months. Those once wedded to peaceful protest now judge that taking up arms is the only viable option.

One important milestone has been the outbreak of violence this month in Syria’s second city, Aleppo. The army is increasingly stretched across fronts that it did not have to worry about last year.

It took days to regain control of suburbs around Damascus, and the town of Zabadani – scarcely 20 miles (32km) north-west of Damascus – was entirely seized by rebels last month.

These growing commitments thin out, and increase the strain on, loyal units. The paradox is that more fighting means more defections, but failing to do so risks conceding territory on which the armed parts of the opposition can regroup and consolidate.

The assault on Homs, which began late on Friday, is focused on districts that are controlled by rebel forces.

The worst shelling has been in the Baba Amr district, where activists say 50 people were killed on Wednesday alone.

The BBC’s Jim Muir, in neighbouring Lebanon, says there are armed rebels in the area, but also many civilians.

Ali Hazuri, a doctor in Baba Amr, told AFP news agency that the intense bombardment had resumed early on Thursday after an overnight lull.

“The shells are raining down on us and regime forces are using heavy artillery,” he said.

During lulls in the onslaught, Syrians are using loudhailers to appeal for blood donations and medical supplies, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The Human Rights Watch group said the blockade of the city by government forces meant victims of the shelling were being denied adequate medical treatment, saying makeshift hospitals were being overwhelmed with the dead and wounded.  the entire  article at source