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Tanks shell city of Homs as Syria pulls bid for UN Human Rights seat

Syria’s third-largest city has come under fire from government forces, with some reports suggesting the city has been under siege for four days.

A Syrian protester at a demonstration in Jordan demanding Assad's resignation.
A Syrian protester at a demonstration in Jordan demanding Assad's resignation.
Image: AP Photo/ Nader Daoud

SYRIA HAS ABANDONED its plan to apply for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council under pressure from other UN members, and has instead ceded its position as a candidate to Kuwait.

Several UN diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Syria would trade its candidacy with Kuwait, which is now planning to announce it is running for one of the four seats available to Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

The General Assembly is due to hold its annual vote for one-third of the seats on its human rights council at the end of next week.

Shelling

Syrian tanks have been shelling Homs, the third-largest city, as security forces continue their crackdown on political dissent. The BBC says that several reports claim that a residential district came under attack this morning. Other reports claim the city has been under siege for four days but that shelling began today in response to a new protest.

Al Jazeera reports that when asked why Syrian President Bashar Assad’s name was not included on the list of Syrian officials who are specifically targeted by EU sanctions, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said that officials would “look at it again this week”.

She added that she is in favour of putting “the maximum political pressure that we can on Syria”.

Anti-government protests first broke out on 18 March. Syrian human rights groups claim that up to 800 people have been killed in the subsequent government crackdown and thousands more have been arrested. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that more than 1,000 people have died.

Read: EU imposes arms embargo on Syria, as hundreds more protesters detained >

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