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‘23 civilians killed as Syrian forces pound Homs’

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

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

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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