Syrian Troops Surround Rebel City, Fire on Damascus Protesters

Red Cross pleads for humanitarian truce
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2012 3:49 AM CST
Syrian forces move through the streets of Homs.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via APTN)
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(Newser) – Syrian troops are massing outside the rebellious city of Homs, and human rights groups fear that one of the bloodiest crackdowns of the 11-month uprising is imminent. The district of Baba Amr is an opposition stronghold, and residents aim to fight until "the last person," an activist tells the AP, adding that the city is facing savage shelling that does not "differentiate between military or civilian targets."

At least 16 people were killed across the country, nine of them—including three children in one family—by the renewed shelling in Homs, the BBC reports. In Damascus, at least four activists were injured overnight when government troops opened fire on demonstrators, reports Reuters. The Red Cross is urging both sides to declare a ceasefire, even just for a few hours, so humanitarian aid can reach civilians in affected areas. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham say it's time for the US to look at ways of aiding the rebels. (Read more Baba Amr stories.)

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