Syrian forces shelling on Homs enters 25th consecutive day
Syrian forces heavily shelled several restive areas inside the central province of Homs on Tuesday, for the 25th consecutive day, as helicopters hovered over the targeted regions, activists in the area told dpa.
"More than 80 shells fell on the neighbourhoods of al-Hamdiyeh, al-Khalidiyeh and Karam al-Zeitoun," Omar Homsi, an activist in the area said.
Homsi said that 64 bodies were found late Monday near an army checkpoint of people who were trying to escape Baba Amr neighbourhood over the weekend.
"All of them were men whose ages vary between 25 to 40, their families are still missing," he said, adding that the missing family members constituted 190 people, mainly women, children and elderly.
Baba Amr is one of the areas that have been shelled and besieged by government forces since February 4.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the Syrian Red Crescent entered Baba Amr on Monday and evacuated three wounded Syrians.
A western diplomat in Syria said all efforts conducted by the French ambassador in Damascus have failed so far to secure a safe passage for the two wounded western journalists who are still inside Baba Amr.
"The Western journalists are refusing to leave Baba Amr as there are more than 1,000 wounded who need treatment. By their steadfastness they are trying to help civilians who are also suffering from severe wounds and need hospital treatment," Homsi said.
In the northern province of Idlib, clashes erupted in early Tuesday between army defectors and government forces. The exchange of fire continued for several hours and killed three members of the government troops and injured several defectors, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
On Monday, violence across Syria killed 135 in rebel-held areas in the provinces of Homs and Idlib.
News coming out of Syria cannot be verified as the government is still banning independent journalists from covering news inside the restive areas.
The surge in violence came as the Syrian interior ministry said voters turnout on the new draft constitution for the country, which was carried out on Sunday, reached more than 57 per cent.
The government hailed on Monday the approval of a new constitution by almost 90 per cent of voters as a success of its democratic reforms.
Western powers have also dismissed the vote as a farce.