Three killed in security crackdown on Syrian defectors in Homs
Three people died in the central Syrian city of Homs on Saturday, on the second day of clashes between army defectors and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, anti-government activists said dpa reported
The three were killed and five others were injured when forces pounded the city with heavy machine guns, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Clashes erupted between government forces and armed groups - believed to be army deserters - and explosions were heard from early morning, the London-based group said.
Activists reported that dozens of security personnel had defected on Friday, leading to fierce fighting across Homs, which has been one of the focal points for the anti-government protests.
Around 40 people died on Friday, mainly in the Homs and Hama governorates, as demonstrators took to the streets calling for the imposition of a no-fly zone over the country to protect civilians.
The protests were in response to a call from online activists for the international community to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, similar to the one that helped the rebels in Libya to oust the regime of Moamer Gaddafi.
More than 3,000 people, including at least 187 children, have been killed in the Syrian government crackdown since the protests began in mid-March, according to the United Nations.