AMMAN - The Syrian army has stepped up an offensive on opposition Sunni Muslim strongholds in the central city of Homs, bringing in ground forces to try to secure passage for its forces through a major road junction, opposition sources said on Friday.
Around 15,000 Sunni civilians were trapped on the southern and western edge of the city on Friday near the intersection of Syria's main north-south and east-west arteries, crucial to let Assad's forces travel between Damascus and the Mediterranean coast, opposition campaigners in Homs said.
They said army rocket, artillery and aerial bombardment had killed at last 120 civilians and 30 opposition fighters since Sunday.
Syrian authorities have banned most independent media, making it difficult to verify such reports on the ground.
The sources also said shabbiha militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad had killed more than 100 Sunni men, women and children when they overran a nearby area 10 days ago.