The Syrian regime forces on Wednesday bombed rebel strongholds despite its promise to withdraw its troops, as its Russian ally expressing certainty over a military victory by the regime even if the opposition would be armed "to the teeth".
"From the Turkish border in the northeast to Deraa in the south, the military operations continue," said Rami Abdel Rahman, president of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Forces of the regime of Bashar al-Assad bombed Wednesday according to SOHR neighborhoods of Homs, the third largest city in the country. According to activists, heavy fighting broke out at dawn between rebels and army troops on the outskirts of Baba Amr, the rebel area taken on March 1 by the regime after a month of devastating bombardment.
Government troops also launched assaults near the Jordanian border in the province of Deraa (south) and towns around Idleb (northwest) where an elderly man and a former political prisoner, Ahmad al-Othman was killed by fire from a tank on his car.
"The tanks stormed or bombed towns and villages and then returned to their bases, this does not mean that there are withdrawals," said Mr. Rahman.
The withdrawal of the tanks is one of the main points of the international envoy Kofi Annan's plan that Damascus is committed to apply by Tuesday.
A draft statement on Syria under discussion in the UN Security Council demands from Damascus to meet the deadline of April 10 to conduct its military disengagement and the Syrian opposition to do the same within 48 hours.
The Assad regime remains comforted by the support of Russia. On Wednesday, Moscow said that the opposition "will not beat" the government forces even if it was armed "to the teeth".
"It's clear as crystal, even if they armed the opposition to the teeth, it would not beat the Syrian army. We would then just see a bloodbath for many years, mutual destruction," stressed the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
But on the ground, the popular opposition wants to show it does not give up. According to a video posted by militants, during a demonstration Tuesday night in Hama, activists wore a placard that read "Despite the bombing, nothing is dead in us, except fear."