Syrian forces storm civilian areas in bid to crush uprising
Syrian forces stormed three neighbourhoods in the central city of Homs and tanks swept into several southern towns yesterday, residents said, in a campaign to crush an uprising against autocratic Baathist rule.
In the first incursion into residential areas in Homs, machine-gun fire and shelling was heard across the city of one million people.
At least one civilian, a 12-year-old child, was killed when tanks and troops charged into the Bab Sebaa, Bab Amro and Tal al-Sour districts of Homs overnight, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"The areas have been under total siege since yesterday. There is a total blackout on the numbers of dead and injured, telecommunications and electricity are repeatedly being cut with the districts," the Observatory said in a statement.
Meanwhile, it also emerged that Western powers were trying to stop the UN awarding Syria a place on the UN Human Rights Council following its brutal suppression of the uprising, in which 800 people have been killed.
The General Assembly of the UN will vote next week to fill this year's rotating places on the council, which has come under fire before for granting membership to dictatorships with a history of violence against their people.
Syria is one of four candidates for four vacancies due to be filled by Asian countries.
Western nations are said to be vehemently opposed to the choice, made before the current wave of Arab uprisings spread to Syria, and are lobbying foreign ministries across Asia and the Middle East to propose an alternative. (© Daily Telegraph, London)