Heavy fighting raged near Baba Amro in Homs on Wednesday after elite Syrian troops attacked the rebel-held bastion that has endured 25 days of siege and fierce bombardment, activists said.
The Farouq Brigade of the Free Syrian Army was trying to hold off the assault led by units of the armored Fourth Division, which is commanded by Maher al-Assad, the hardline brother of President Bashar al-Assad.
The rebels have sworn to fight to the last man, according to Ahmed, an activist who said he had just left Baba Amro. He said other opposition areas of Homs were also under attack but gave no details of casualties.
Developing: The UN Political Affairs chief says Syria’s civilian death toll due to government crackdown is “well over 7,500.”
Photo: Overview of the U.N. Human Rights Council during the emergency debate on human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, at the United Nations in Geneva February 28, 2012. [REUTERS/Denis Balibouse]
Live blog: The Conflict in Syria
Developing: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on all nations to place travel bans and freeze the assets of senior Syrian officials. Clinton also called on nations to boycott Syrian oil and suspend new investments.
Clinton said the Syrian government and allied states will have “even more blood on their hands” if aid is not allowed into the country, and said Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad will pay a “heavy price” for violating the rights of the Syrian people.
A confidential list of top Syrian officials suspected of ordering crimes against humanity including murder, abductions and torture has been given to the United Nations for possible future prosecution, U.N. investigators said on Thursday.
Syrian forces bent on crushing a popular uprising have shot dead unarmed women and children, shelled residential areas and tortured wounded protesters in hospital under orders from the “highest level” of army and government officials, the independent panel said in a report.
The three-member panel said that they had drawn up a secret list of names of commanding officers and officials alleged to be responsible for gross violations. The list, which also identifies armed opposition units tied to abuses, might help “future credible investigations by competent authorities.”
This Reuters graphic shows there have been 6,519 men, 190 women and 465 children killed in violence in Syria as of Feb. 5, 2012. The most fatalities in a single day since April of last year happened on Feb. 4, 2012 with 400 deaths reported.
[Graphic: REUTERS | Sources: UNITAR-UNOSAT, Syria Violence Document Center, syrianshuhada.com, syriamap.wordpress.com, news reports]
China’s top newspaper on Monday defended Beijing’s rejection of a U.N. resolution pressing Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to abandon power, saying Western campaigns in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq showed the error of forced regime change.
The commentary in the People’s Daily, the top newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, was Beijing’s clearest defense of its decision to join Moscow at the weekend in vetoing a draft United Nations resolution that would have backed an Arab plan urging Assad to quit after months of bloodshed.
The commentary suggested that Chinese distrust of Western intervention lay behind the veto, which was described by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a “travesty”.
At least 384 children have been killed during Syria’s 10-month uprising and virtually the same number have been jailed, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday.
"As of January 7, 384 children have been killed, most are boys. Some 380 children have been detained, some less than 14 years old," Rima Salah, acting UNICEF deputy executive director, told reporters in Geneva.