Syria's Homs under new deadly blitz
Regime forces launched a new blitz on the Syrian city of Homs yesterday, killing more than 50 people, activists said, as the UN weighed a joint mission with the Arab League to end the violence.
Shelling erupted at daybreak, killing 52 civilians in the besieged central city and burning some bodies beyond recognition, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
At least 400 people have died in Homs in a relentless six-day onslaught as government troops attempt to crush opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, activists say.
"The shells are raining down on us and regime forces are using heavy artillery," said Ali Hazuri, a doctor in the Baba Amr district reached by telephone from Beirut.
Elsewhere, an army colonel and seven security forces members died when rebels ambushed two buses near the southern town of Daraa, cradle of the revolt, said the Britain-based Observatory.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday the "appalling brutality" of the assault on Homs "is a grim harbinger of worse to come."
He launched the idea of sending a joint observer mission with the Arab League as he bemoaned the UN Security Council's failure to agree a resolution on the crisis.
The UN chief said consultations would be held with the Arab League and Security Council members in coming days "before fleshing out the details."
Ban hit out at Russia and China for their steadfast refusal to back UN resolutions condemning the violence in Syria, saying this had encouraged Assad's regime to continue its repression.
Moscow, a staunch ally of the regime in Damascus, has insisted any solution to end nearly one year of bloodshed must come from within Syria.