News / Middle East

Activists: Syrian Troops Storm Residential District of Homs

Syrian rights activists say government forces have stormed a residential district of Homs, intensifying a deadly crackdown on dissent in the city and prompting Syria's main opposition group to call for international intervention to protect civilians.

Activists say Syrian government troops raided homes and made arrests in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs on Monday, the sixth day of a military operation they say has killed at least 100 people. They say army defectors have been fighting back against the pro-government forces in Homs, a major center of an eight-month uprising against the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian rights activists say security forces backed by tanks and heavy weapons killed two people in Homs and the surrounding province Monday, including an 8-year old girl struck by what they called "random" gunfire. They say government troops killed at least 16 people in the region on Sunday.

There was no independent confirmation of the casualties because Syria has barred most foreign journalists from working in the country.

The Syrian National Council, the country's main opposition faction, declared Homs a "disaster area" on Monday. It urged international and Arab observers to oversee the situation on the ground to prevent more attacks on civilians.

Qatar has called an emergency meeting of the Arab League to address what Doha calls Syria's failure to implement a deal with the regional bloc to end to the crackdown.

Syrian ambassador to the Arab League Youssef Ahmed said Monday Syria has taken significant steps toward fulfilling last week's deal, such as releasing 500 prisoners as part of a conditional amnesty.

The United Nations says at least 3,000 people have been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown since the uprising began in March. Syria blames much of the unrest on "terrorists" whom it says have killed hundreds of security personnel.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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