BEIRUT - More than 200 people were killed in shelling by Syrian forces
in the city of Homs, activists said on Saturday, as the UN Security
Council prepared to vote on a draft resolution backing an Arab call for
President Bashar Assad to give up power.
The Syrian Observatory
For Human Rights cited witnesses as saying that hundreds were wounded in
the latest outburst of fighting in Syria's 11-month uprising against
"The death toll is now at least 217 people killed in Homs,
138 of them killed in the Khalidiya district," Rami Abdulrahman, head
of the British-based group, told Reuters, citing witnesses.
forces are shelling the district with mortars from several locations,
some buildings are on fire. There are also buildings which got
It is not possible to verify activist or state media reports as Syria restricts access for independent media.
the United Nations, the Security Council was due to meet later in the
day to vote on a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League
plan calling for Assad to resign.
Diplomats said it was unclear
if Russia, which has opposed significant council action on Syria, would
vote in favor, abstain or veto the resolution.
The meeting was
tentatively scheduled for 9:00 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) on Saturday, although
Russia had requested that it be pushed back to 11:00 a.m, they said.
has balked at any language that would open to door to "regime change"
in Syria, its most important Middle East ally. A vote may not be
imminent and further revisions could follow.
France said it
foresaw a vote by Monday at the latest. Russia has a naval base in Syria
and is a major supplier of arms to the government, and bristles at
efforts by outsiders to dictate political change in Damascus.
wrangling over the draft resolution, designed to halt the violence in
Syria, continued even as Syrian government forces pressed on with their
crackdown on a revolt in which thousands of people have been killed.
forces in the city of Hama shot dead one person on Friday as they moved
to break up a protest marking the anniversary of a 1982 massacre by
troops loyal to Assad's father, activists said.
said forces dispersed protests in the Janoub al-Malaab district of Hama
where people had planned to release 1,000 red balloons to mark the
killing of over 10,000 people when Hafez Assad's forces crushed an
Activists reported arrests and heavy gunfire in several areas and said at least 18 people were killed across Syria.
Violence also returned to the main commercial hub Aleppo, which had largely remained on the sidelines of the uprising.
soldiers were killed in clashes with army deserters in the southern
province of Deraa and seven people were killed in Damascus province,
where the government beat back rebels who briefly seized towns last