This image from amateur video made available by Shaam News Network on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, purports to show a wounded person outside a hospital in Homs, Syria. Government forces shelled the central Syrian city of Homs on Monday, striking a makeshift medical clinic and residential areas and killing more than a dozen people in the third day of a new assault on the epicenter of the country's uprising, activists said. (AP Photo)
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian forces bombarded Homs on Monday, killing 50 people in a sustained assault on several districts of the city which has become a centre of armed opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian National Council opposition group said.
The bombardment came a day after the United States promised harsher sanctions against Damascus in response to Russian and Chinese vetoes of a draft U.N. resolution that would have backed an Arab plan urging Assad to step aside.
"The tally that we have received from various activists in Homs since the shelling started at six this morning is 50, mostly civilians," Catherine al-Talli of the Syrian National Council told Reuters.
The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had the names of 17 people killed so far, adding it expected the death toll to rise. Arab satellite television channels broadcast live footage showing smoke rising from buildings, with explosions echoing in the background.
"This is the most violent bombardment in recent days," said one activist in Syria who was in touch with Homs residents. Another activist said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were using multiple rocket launchers in the attack.