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Syria Still Pounding Homs as Russia Arrives

Sergei Lavrov reportedly has own peace plan
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2012 7:10 AM CST
Syria Still Pounding Homs as Russia Arrives
Bashar al-Assad shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as Russian Foreign Intelligence chief Mikhail Fradkov smiles, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.   (AP Photo, pool)

(Newser) – Syria's regime is raining devastation down on Homs for a fourth day today, with the Telegraph reporting that hundreds of shells are hitting the city with each passing hour. Rebels there have been rendered defensively helpless, incapable of responding with anything more than gunshots. "We can't count all the bodies from the streets and the collapsed buildings," says an insurgent leader. "We are living in a tragedy. People can't even run away or flee, and are dying in their homes."

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The bombardment continues even as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived today in Damascus for talks with Bashar al-Assad, and a day after the US shuttered its embassy. Russia voted against a UN resolution urging Assad to step aside on Saturday, and Lavrov was welcomed by enthusiastic crowds, but the country is said to be pushing its own plan to end the bloodshed, notes the New York Times. “It is in our interests for Arab peoples to live in peace and agreement,” Lavrov said. Others are losing patience: France and Italy today recalled their ambassadors, while British Foreign Minister William Hague yesterday termed Assad's rule a "doomed regime, as well as a murdering regime." Click through the gallery for more scenes from Syria. (Read more Syria stories.)

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