Sunday, June 17, 2012

Syria's Homs battered as weekend death toll reaches 84

BEIRUT (AFP): Troops pounded besieged districts of the flashpoint city of Homs as 15 people were killed in violence across Syria on Sunday, taking the weekend death toll to 84, a watchdog said.

A civilian was killed in the rebel stronghold of Khalidiyeh, which, like other parts of the central city, was "being shelled since this morning and shot at by regime forces who have been trying to take control of these districts," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A rebel fighter was killed in a clash with regime troops in the Karm Shamsham neighbourhood of Homs, while another man was shot dead by a sniper in the Old City.

Speaking to AFP via Skype from the Old City neighbourhood, activist Abu Bilal said the regime siege of several parts of the city was "suffocating."

"They are shelling us all the time. There's very little food and water, and we're running out of medication."

Video posted on YouTube by activists showed clouds of black and grey smoke rising over buildings in the Old City, as the sound of shelling and shooting ripped through the silence of what appeared to be a ghost town.