Syrian government troops heavily shelled rebellious districts in the resistance stronghold of Homs Tuesday, killing at least 16 people and compounding fears of a new round of bloody urban combat in a country careening toward all-out civil war.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross called for a daily two-hour cease- so that it can deliver emergency aid and reach people who are wounded or sick.
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Activists said the intense shelling of Baba Amr in Homs lasted a few hours but did not seem to be the start of a widely expected military offensive aimed at retaking rebel-held neighborhoods in the central region. Two of the 16 people killed were children, activists said, warning that Homs is already facing a humanitarian catastrophe.
Photo taken by locals of Homs massacre (Photo: AFP)
In the northern province of Aleppo, the government said a Syrian businessman was shot dead in front of his home in what appears to be the latest in a series of targeted killings that suggest armed factions are growing bolder and more coordinated in their uprising against President Bashar Assad.
An activist inside Homs said the shelling started after repeated attempts by troops to storm the edges of Baba Amr.
"Government troops have been unable to advance because of stiff resistance from defectors inside," he told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, fearing government reprisals.
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