‘23 civilians killed as Syrian forces pound Homs’
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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 23:02
Damascus: Syrian forces killed at least 23 civilians on Tuesday, including 16 in the shelling of neighbourhoods in Homs, monitors said, as regime forces massed around the flashpoint city raising fears of an imminent ground attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that three children and a woman were among 16 people who died in "intensive shelling" that targeted the Homs neighbourhood of Baba Amr.

The Khaldiyeh and Karm al-Zaytoun sectors were also blitzed, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

Activists have said that in the past few days the regime has been bolstering its forces outside Homs, apparently to storm the city after 18 straight days of siege.

The Observatory said a military convoy of 56 vehicles, including tanks and personnel carriers, were seen on Tuesday travelling on the highway from Damascus, near the town of Qarah, 70 kilometres (38 miles) south of Homs.

It said heavy shelling for two hours early on Tuesday of Khaldiyeh and Karm al-Zaytoun later gave way to more sporadic attacks.

Meanwhile, five other civilians, including a child, were killed when security forces opened fire at the border town of Qusayr, in Homs province, the Observatory said. A civilian was also killed in gunfire that targeted the town of Al-Atarib, in the northern province of Aleppo, the monitoring group said.

Another civilian was killed and five others wounded, when regime forces opened fire at a small bus in the village of Tronba, in the northwest province of Idlib, it added.

The Red Cross said yesterday it was in talks with the Syrian authorities and rebels to halt the violence so that it can deliver aid, amid calls to allow women and children out of Homs.


First Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 14:40

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