Syrian tanks pounded an old district in Homs on Saturday in one of the heaviest attacks since the military intensified an assault on the central city two weeks ago to crush protests and the mounting insurgency in the city.
Several army defectors took refuge in the district of Bab Amro the day before, adding to hundreds who had already defected, they said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said initial reports indicated that one person was killed and at least five injured in the attack.
The tanks were firing anti-aircraft guns, which the military is using to hit ground targets, and using heavy machineguns. An amateur video on YouTube showed at least one building on fire.
Syrian authorities said the military operation is designed to cleanse Homs of “armed terrorist groups”. The authorities have banned independent media from Homs and the rest of the country, making it hard to independently verify the content of these videos.
The Syrian human rights group Sawasiah said the military assault on Homs had killed at least 300 civilians in the last 10 days, while 30,000 had been arrested since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March.
Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers taskforce on Syria sent President Bashar al-Assad an urgent message on Friday denouncing “the continued killings of civilians” and called on him to protect them.