Regime forces besiege Homs, 69 killed across Syria


Syrian troops besieged several districts of the central city of Homs on Sunday, a day after violence across the country cost at least 69 lives, a watchdog reported.
Shelling and shooting targeted several districts of Homs on Saturday and killed at least five people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said more than 1,000 families were trapped in the city.
“More than 100 people are injured, many of them badly, and the lack of medical equipment means some of them will die,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, adding there was also a lack of medical staff.
Home to several rebel hideouts, Homs has been under intermittent attack by regime forces ever since Baba Amr district was relentlessly pounded for a month earlier this year and retaken by the regime.
Violence killed 69 people across Syria on Saturday, among them 51 civilians, 16 regular soldiers and two rebel fighters, according to the Observatory.
Seven of the civilians, including three women, were killed in shelling of Douma, an opposition stronghold just north of Damascus, the Britain-based watchdog said.
Five civilian men were killed in Saqaba, also in Damascus province, the Observatory said, adding some of them had been “slaughtered” with knives.
“This kind of killing has become common in recent weeks,” Abdel Rahman said, calling for an independent investigation.
In the same region, a man, his wife and their child were killed when their house in the town of Irbin was hit by a shell, the Observatory said.
Violence in Syria has killed more than 14,400 people since an uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad erupted in mid-March 2011, according to the Observatory.