By Naila Missous
Syria’s army have killed as many as 21 people including 18 in Homs today, according to Syrian activists.
18 of the deaths have been reported in Homs and at least 150 others have been injured as the Syrian army fired around 200 tank shells at the city in just under an hour.
Syrian opposition leaders, who are refusing to talk to the government, are insisting that President Assad steps down.
An Arab League peace plan calls on Assad to hand power to his vice president, form a unity government and hold presidential elections. The Syrian government has rejected the plan.
Footage posted on YouTube, allegedly taken before the shooting today, showed a crowd marching in Hajar al-Aswad carrying placards in support of the plagued city of Homs. The crowd sang: “Eyes are shedding tears for the martyrs among Syria’s youth.”
Syrian state media said Assad told the Russian lawmakers that Syria is a victim of “armed terrorists” supported by foreigners aiming to destabilize the country, a claim he has repeated frequently.
The uprising began with peaceful protests last March, but has become increasingly militarized in recent months with battles between army defectors and pro-Assad troops. Human rights activists say the unrest has killed at least 6,000 people.