Syrian Troops Step Up Homs Bombardment

Activists say 50 people have been killed so far today

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 6, 2012 7:27 AM CST

(Newser) – Syrian troops resumed their shelling of Homs this morning, with the BBC reporting near-constant explosions in the restive city. Some rebels are reportedly returning fire (though a BBC correspondent describes their efforts as a "futile gesture"), and Reuters reports that 50 people have been killed today. According to the rebels, a field hospital where dozens are being treated is a target of today's attack, which the BBC calls one of the worst assaults on Homs of the uprising. And protesters fear Russia and China's veto of a UN draft resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down will embolden the government to act as it pleases, resulting in even more violence.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today defended his country's actions, saying the resolution meant choosing a side in a civil war. He will fly to Syria for talks with Assad tomorrow. The criticism of the vetoes showed no signs of abating, however. A rep for David Cameron said, "Russia and China are protecting a regime that is killing thousands of people. We find their position incomprehensible and inexcusable." France's Defense minister didn't mince words: " There are political cultures which deserve a kick in the ass. To accept that a dictator can operate freely is disgraceful for governments that accept it."

In this citizen journalism image, Syrian mourners gather around the coffins of the victims who were killed early Saturday, in Khaldiyeh neighborhood in Homs province, on Feb. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Local Coordination Committees in Syria)
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