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Reports: Assault On Homs Continues

February 14, 2012

Syrian troops are continuing their assault targeting the flashpoint city of Homs and other restive areas.

Reports on February 14 said troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had intensified the shelling of rebel bastions in Homs.

Government forces have been bombarding the central city for more than a week in a bid to retake control of zones held by rebel forces.

Hundreds of people have been reported killed in the offensive. Shelling was also reported on February 14 in Hama, while regime ground forces reportedly stormed areas in the south and near the Lebanese border.

This latest violence has come after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the UN General Assembly that Russia and China's veto of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria had encouraged Damascus to step up attacks on pro-democracy protests.

Diplomats at the UN say a draft resolution similar to the one vetoed by Moscow and Beijing is being circulated at the General Assembly with a vote expected later this week.

The resolution backs an Arab League call for Assad to step down.

After talks in Washington with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated calls for Assad "to end the killing immediately [and] withdraw military forces from residential areas."

She also urged Assad to "begin a genuine, sincere democratic transition that starts with a respectful serious dialogue with the opposition."

Meanwhile, China says one of its envoys has held "frank and useful" talks with the head of the Arab League.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the meeting with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby took place on February 13.

The statement quoted Chinese envoy Li Huaxin as saying the aim of the visit was to “explain China's position" and listen to Arab League opinions.

Compiled from agency reports


Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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