177 Killed in Syria Clashes

177 Syrians were killed on Saturday, mostly civilians, including 6 defected soldiers in clashes between the regime army and the Free Syrian Army across the country.

Head of the Free Syrian Army told al-Jazeera that “the Free Syrian Army killed more than 100 regime troops in Reef Damascus.”

“We were able to control arms depots for the Syrian army,” Asaad told the satellite channel.

Local Coordination Committees said that the Syrian forces killed 77 including 55 in Idlib among them 47 defecting soldiers.

8 people were killed in Reef Damascus, the committees said, in addition to 5 in Homs, 4 others in Hama, 4 in Daraa and 1 in Deir al-Zour.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that “6 citizens were killed near Idlib.”

In Reef Aleppo, a citizen and a defected lieutenant were killed in clashes.”

As the condemnation spiraled so did harrowing accounts of the situation inside Homs.

On Friday a seven-truck convoy organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society was barred from entering Baba Amr.

Syrian authorities said the decision was taken for security reasons, namely the presence of bombs and landmines.

But U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded unconditional humanitarian access to Syrian cities, saying there were "grisly" reports of summary executions and torture in Homs, Syria's third largest city.

"The Syrian authorities must open without any preconditions to humanitarian communities," he said. "It is totally unacceptable, intolerable. How as a human being can you bear... this situation?"

By Saturday afternoon the Red Cross said that none of its teams had entered Baba Amr.

"We are still in talks," ICRC spokesman Saleh Dabbakeh told Agence France Presse.

Red Crescent operations Chief Khaled Erksoussi said: "The authorities told us that we're being denied access for security reasons."

ICRC chief Jakob Kellenberger said it was "unacceptable that people who have been in need of emergency assistance for weeks have still not received any help."

Syrian troops overran Baba Amr on Thursday, capping a month of shelling.

HRW, quoting accounts from journalists and residents who had fled, said that heavy shelling of the city's Baba Amr district would start every day at around 6:30 am and continue until sunset.

It said 122 mm howitzers and 120 mm mortars were used, as well as the Russian-made 240 mm mortar, which it quoted an arms catalogue as saying is designed to "demolish fortifications and fieldworks."

It noted that Baba Amr has been an opposition stronghold since anti-regime protests erupted last March, but stressed this presence "in no way justifies the scale and nature of the attack."

The United States has called on all countries to condemn the "horrific" brutality in Syria while French President Nicolas Sarkozy said what is happening "is scandalous."

Source: Agence France Presse, Naharnet

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.