Scores killed and injured as Syrian army shells Homs; shelling seen as ‘real war’

The news is the latest sign of growing unrest within the ranks of the Syrian forces, as outrage grows in Syria and in the West over the regime’s bloody crackdown on opposition protests. (Reuters)

At least 47 people were killed across Syria on Monday as regime troops attacked the flashpoint city of Homs and opened fire in Damascus, Aleppo and Zabadani, activists said.

“It is the most intensive shelling on Baba Amro since the start of the protests,” one witness told Al Arabiya by phone.

Military helicopters are taking part in the shelling of Baba Amro, which caused a number of residential buildings to collapse, Syrian activists said.

“Seven residential buildings collapsed as a result of the Syrian intensive shelling of Homs,” an activist at the Local Coordination Committees told Al Arabiya. “Homs is witnessing a real war,” he said.

“The tally that we have received from various activists in Homs since the shelling started at six this morning is 50, mostly civilians,” the Syrian National Council opposition group’s Catherine al-Talli told Reuters.

“The regime is acting as if it were immune to international intervention and has a free hand to use violence against the people,” she said.

Deserters destroy military post

Syrian army deserters destroyed a military control post in the northeast overnight, killing three officers and capturing 19 soldiers in the process, as Western powers vowed to seek new ways to punish Damascus amid growing outrage after Russia and China blocked a U.N. resolution condemning Syria.

The attack happened in the village of al-Bara in the Idlib region, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday, adding that none of the army deserters involved was killed.

The regular army post was completely destroyed, AFP reported citing the London-based group.

The news is the latest sign of growing unrest within the ranks of the Syrian forces, as outrage grows in Syria and in the West over the regime’s bloody crackdown on opposition protests.

Western powers vowed Sunday to seek new ways to punish Damascus amid growing outrage after Russia and China blocked a U.N. resolution condemning Syria for its deadly crackdown on protests.

The vetoes wielded by Beijing and Moscow at the U.N. Security Council on Saturday handed President Bashar al-Assad’s regime a “license to kill” according to the opposition.

China Monday rejected U.S. accusations that Beijing and Moscow were responsible for protecting the Syrian regime.

“China does not accept the accusations” of the United States on the Syrian veto, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters. “We don’t shelter anyone,” he added.

“China does not have its own selfish interest on the issue of Syria. We don't shelter anyone. We uphold justice on the Syrian issue,” he added.

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