Death toll rises in Homs
President Bashar al Assad’s troops have also launched an attack, backed by hundreds of armoured vehicles, on the town of Zabadani, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said today.
At least 17 people have died in Homs today, the British-based activist group said, but the death toll is feared to be much higher. At least one activist put the toll at 50.
The US has closed its embassy in Syria, officials have told CNN.
The fresh wave of attacks came after British Foreign Minister William Hague and US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice both warned that further bloodshed in Syria would be on Russia and China’s hands.
The SNC said the regime had encircled Homs with tanks ahead of “a major offensive”.
“What is happening is horrible, it’s beyond belief,” said Omar Shaker, an activist in Homs. The sound of gunfire and loud explosions could be heard in the background as he spoke.
“There is a large number of martyrs,” he said. “It is the first time we are undergoing attacks of such intensity.”
Shaker said activists were transporting the wounded to the city’s mosques. Some reports said medical centres were being shelled.
“There is nowhere to take shelter, nowhere to hide,” he said. “We are running short of medical supplies and we are only able to provide basic treatment to the injured.”
Arab satellite television stations broadcast live footage from Homs this morning as the bombs went off during the call to prayer.