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Syria: Dozens reported dead as shelling of Homs continues

The violence comes despite more assurances from president Bashar Assad to end the bombardment and start dialogue with rebel fighters.

 Bashar Assad, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after talks in Damascus yesterday.
Bashar Assad, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after talks in Damascus yesterday.
Image: AP Photo/Pool

MORE THAN 40 people are reported to have died as a result of heavy shelling of the Syrian city of Homs for a fifth straight day.

Activists say Syrian troops have continued shelling residential neighborhoods in the central city which is under opposition control.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says “tens of citizens were killed” in shelling of the neighborhoods of Bayadah, Baba Amr, Khaldiyeh and Karm el-Zeytoun earlier today.

There are increasing fears that Syrian forces will launch a ground invasion of the city.

The attacks comes a day after a visit from Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in which he was promised by president Bashar Assad that the violence would end and dialogue begin, BBC News reports.

Lavrov’s arrival in Damascus was welcomed by crowds of people who support Assad:


According to The Telegraph, Lavrov said that talks were “very useful” and added that Russia was ready to act to ensure a “rapid solution to the crisis based on the plan put forward by the Arab League.”

Russia and China vetoed a plan put forward at the UN Security Council last week based on a resolution from the Arab League aimed at ending the violence. Despite pledges to end the violence, it appears to have continued unabated.

Omar Shaker, an activist in Baba Amr, says his neighborhood is under “very intense shelling” by tanks, mortars, artilleries and heavy machine guns.

Shaker said he has counted five bodies in his district earlier today.

This footage from AP shows residents and rebels from the Free Syrian Army hiding from sniper fire in Homs yesterday:


The violence comes as President Bashar Assad’s regime is increasingly isolated. Five European and six Gulf nations have pulled their ambassadors out of Damascus, and the US has closed its embassy in Syria.

- additional reporting from AP

Syria: Shelling resumes in Homs as Russian foreign minister due for talks

Videos: What’s happening in Homs?

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Hugh O'Connell

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