Homs - AFP - 5.2.12
An image taken from a YouTube video showing smoke billowing from a neighborhood in the restive city of Homs on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012. Photo by AFP
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Syrian forces bombarded the city of Homs early on Monday, killing 60 people in a wave of attacks across several districts, activists and residents said.

"This is the most violent bombardment in recent days," said one activist in Syria who was in touch with Homs residents. Another activist said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were using multiple rocket launchers in the attack.

Arab satellite television stations broadcast live footage from Homs. Explosions could be heard and smoke could be seen rising from some buildings.

Activists said more than 200 people were killed on Friday night when tanks and artillery blasted the Khalidiya neighborhood of Homs, a turbulent city that has become a centre of resistance to Assad's rule.

 

The latest assault, which began shortly after 2 a.m. (midnight GMT) on Monday, appeared to be more widely targeted, with explosions in Khalidiya, Baba Amro, Bayada and Bab Dreib neighborhoods, the activists said.

Fifteen people were killed in Baba Amro and 150 wounded, one resident said by telephone. "They want to drive the Free Syrian Army out," said Hussein Nader, referring to the rebel force of army deserters and gunmen who have controlled parts of the city for months.

"Rockets are falling seconds apart on the same target."

Activists also said Zabadani, a town north-west of Damascus near the Lebanese border which has been largely under the control of Assad's opponents for several weeks, had come under fire on Monday.

In northeast Syria, army deserters destroyed a military control post on Monday morning in the village of Al Bara. Three Syrian army officers were killed in the process and 19 soldiers were captured, according to Al Jazeera.

Resumed violence in Homs came after, on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Russia and China's veto of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria was a "travesty," adding that Washington would work with other nations to support democratic change in the Arab nation.

The resolution vetoed by Russia and China would have urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to give up power after a bloody 11-month uprising.

Clinton told a joint news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov during a brief visit to Sofia: "Those countries that refused to support the Arab League plan bear full responsibility for protecting the brutal machine in Damascus."

"Faced with a neutered Security Council, we have to redouble our efforts outside of the United Nations with those allies and partners who support the Syrian people's right to have a better future," she said. "We have to increase diplomatic pressure on the Assad regime and work to convince those people around President Assad that he must go."

Clinton also said the United States would work with other nations to try to tighten "regional and national" sanctions "to dry up the sources of funding and the arms shipments that are keeping the regime's war machine going."

"We will work to expose those who are still funding the regime and sending it weapons that are used against defenseless Syrians, including women and children," she said. "We will work with the friends of a democratic Syria around the world to support the opposition's peaceful political plans for change."

Clinton did not give further details which nations might band together or precisely what they might do, but it appeared that the United States might seek to organize a "Friends of Syria" group to act together given the inability to make progress at the United Nations because of Russia and China.

Saturday's 13-2 UN Security Council vote came a day after activists say Syrian forces bombarded the city of Homs, killing more than 200 people in the worst night of bloodshed of the conflict.

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