More than 200 killed in Syria’s Homs before U.N. vote

Syrian forces killed more than 200 people in an assault on the city of Homs, activists said, the bloodiest day of an 11-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, ahead of a Saturday vote on a U.N. resolution calling for him to cede power.
The Arab League, Europe and the United States are trying to persuade Assad’s veto-wielding ally Russia to let the Security Council pass a resolution backing an Arab call for Assad to transfer powers to a deputy. Moscow said passing the resolution without amendments risked “taking sides in a civil war”.
Death tolls cited by activists and opposition groups ranged from 217 to 260, making the Homs attack the deadliest so far in Assad’s crackdown on protests and one of the bloodiest episodes in the “Arab Spring” of revolts that have swept the region.
Residents said Syrian forces began shelling the Khalidiya neighborhood at around 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Friday using artillery and mortars. They said at least 36 houses were completely destroyed with families inside.
“We were sitting inside our house when we started hearing the shelling. We felt shells were falling on our heads,” said Waleed, a resident of Khalidiya.
“The morning has come and we have discovered more bodies, bodies are on the streets,” he said. “Some are still under the rubble our movement is better but there is little we can do without ambulances and other things.”