Britain not ruling military intervention as scores killed in Syria
The Syrian regime's forces shelled several areas Sunday in the province of Homs in the center of the country in a new offensive to retake some territories controlled by the insurgents. At least 38 people were killed in the bombings in the past 24 hours, according to Syrian opposition activists.
The attacks focused on the city of Quseir, near the border with Lebanon, where at least six people died during Sunday alone, according to activists. Three others died in the bombing of Talbiseh, north of the city of Homs, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
"Tens of mortar shells have hit Quseir", said Abu al-Huda, an activist in the city. He said that women and children, holed up for days in the basements of buildings, do not dare to go out.
On Saturday, at least 29 people were killed in the area of Homs, according to activists.
Meanwhile, the Syrian army, backed by helicopter gunships, bombed again Sunday regions around the port city of Latakia in the northwest of the country, sending reinforcements to quell the rebels, holed up for days on Heffa heights.
These battles erupted last Tuesday and killed at least 58 people and injured 200 among the government forces, according to the opposition.
The official SANA news agency for its part said that "terrorist groups" attacked Saturday public and private institutions in Heffa and committed "atrocious" crimes against civilians, including burning down a hospital and driving the inhabitants out from their homes. SANA added that the army killed a number of rebels and captured others. The opposition said six children are among the ten people killed Saturday by a shell during the fighting.
In addition, thousands of people attended the funeral Sunday of nine people killed last night in Maaret al-Numan in the province of Idlib (west). An amateur video released by the opposition shows the procession, with residents paying tribute to the victims whose bodies were transported on makeshift stretchers.
On the diplomatic front, the British Foreign Minister William Hague said Sunday he can't rule out military intervention in Syria, comparing the violence in the country to the conflict in Bosnia in the early 90s. Speaking to the British television channel Sky News, he said he found the time "clearly beginning to ebb" for the implementation of the plan to end the crisis as proposed by the Arab League and UN rnvoy, Kofi Annan.
The country "is on the verge of collapse or a religious civil war, so I think we can not rule anything out," he replied when asked if London had ruled out military intervention.