Syrian army troops rained shells on the Homs district of Khaldiyeh on Wednesday and killed at least 70 people across the country, activists said.
"Khaldiyeh is being bombed, with shells and rockets, for a second day," Hadi Abdullah of the Syrian Revolution General Commission told Agence France Presse, reached by telephone from Beirut.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said at least five civilians were killed and dozens wounded in Wednesday's shelling, a day after 14 civilians were killed in the same district.
It said two children were among the latest deaths.
"Every five minutes from 8 am (0600 GMT), between three and seven shells have come crashing down," said another witness, who added that casualties were dying in makeshift field clinics for lack of medical equipment.
Abdullah said he feared a repeat of the month-long battering that killed hundreds in the Baba Amr district of Homs before the army moved in on March 1 after a pullout by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), made up mostly of army deserters.
He said thousands of residents who fled Baba Amr and other neighborhoods of the city in central Syria had taken refuge in Khaldiyeh, "the last front left" in Homs.
"Four or five families are crammed into each house. People are also sheltering in mosques and unfinished buildings," he said.
Also in Homs, activists uncovered 39 bodies in the Rifai sector of town, said Abdullah. They had probably been killed at the same time as the 48 women and children whose mutilated bodies the FSA found in Homs on March 12.
At the time, the opposition charged it was a massacre carried out by government forces after their capture of Baba Amr, while Damascus said it was the work of "armed terrorist gangs," which it blames for the year-long revolt.
Sixteen of the bodies in the latest find all came from the same family, said the activist on the ground.
The Observatory said four soldiers were killed on Wednesday in the Sultaniyeh district of the city, while four civilians had been also killed in the town of Talbisseh, in the province of Homs.
The Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said security forces killed 70 people across the country, including 14 children and seven women.
Forty people were killed in the central province of Homs, 12 in the central province of Hama, seven in the northwestern province of Idlib, six in the southern province of Daraa, two in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, one in the northeastern province of al-Raqqa and another in the Damascus suburb of Muadhmiyat al-Sham, the LCC said.
Meanwhile, regime troops surrounded Taftanaz and opened fire on rebels in the town in Idlib province, rebel sources said, adding that outnumbered FSA withdrew.
Rebel fighters, lightly armed, have been on the retreat from cities since the start of March in the face of the far superior firepower of government forces.
Overnight, fierce clashes erupted in the Damascus suburb of Harasta between rebels and security forces near an air force intelligence post, the Observatory said. It reported heavy machinegun fire, without giving a casualty toll.
Deadly twin suicide car bombings targeting security buildings in Damascus on Saturday killed 27 people, the interior ministry said.
An Islamist group, the Al-Nusra Front to Protect the Levant, claimed responsibility for the car bombings to avenge the Syrian regime's "massacre of Sunnis," in a statement posted online.
Syria's state news agency SANA said an unspecified number of security officials and civilians were killed in a suicide car bombing on Tuesday in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the uprising.
The Observatory says more than 9,100 people have been killed in the year-long revolt against President Bashar al-Assad that started with peaceful protests before turning into an armed revolt in the face of a brutal crackdown.
|Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved.||http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/34171|