65 dead as Syrian opposition suffers another blow
The Syrian army has intensified the bombings Monday in Homs, where the rebels continued to resist after three weeks of attacks, activists said. "The shelling of the neighborhoods of Khalidiya, Ashira, Bayada, Baba Amr and the old town began Monday at dawn," activist Mohammed al-Homsi told Reuters.
Syrian security forces also fired live ammunition against demonstrators who wanted to denounce the holding of the constitutional referendum Sunday night in Damascus, killing at least three of them. At least 65 people were killed Sunday across Syria.
Meanwhile, several members of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main coalition of opposition bodies to the Syrian regime , announced Sunday the creation of a rival organization, running the risk of further fragmenting the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
At least 20 Islamist and secular members of CNS have left the Council which was set up in Istanbul last year. The new body is headed by Haitham al-Maleh, a lawyer and former judge, long-time opponent to the Assad family. He was joined by Kamal al-Labwani, a leader of the opposition who spent six years in prison before being released in December.
"Syria has experienced some difficult months since the Syrian National Council was formed without achieving satisfactory results and without being able to meet the demands of the insurgents inside Syria," the group said in a statement.
"The previous mode of operation was in vain. We decided to form a group to take patriotic action to support the national effort to overthrow the regime by all means of resistance available, including support for the free Syrian Army", the statement read. The SNC is facing increasing pressure for several weeks to give its official support for an armed resistance against the Syrian regime.