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This post was edited by laowaipengyou at 2012-2-4 13:10|
In a barrage of mortar shells, Syrian forces killed at least 337 people and wounded 1,300 in Homs in an offensive that appears to be the bloodiest episode in the nearly 11-month-old uprising, the Al Arabiya news nework and Syrian opposition officials said Saturday.
Al Arabiya cited eye witnesses saying that the bombardment, which began late Friday, continued on Saturday morning. Security forces continued to pour into the city due to fears that civilians might attempt to retaliate. A field hospital in the Khaldiyeh neighborhood was destroyed in the shelling.
The assault in Homs, which has been one of the main flashpoints of opposition during the uprising, comes as the UN Security Council prepares to vote on a draft resolution backing an Arab call for President Bashar Assad to give up power.
"This is the worst attack of the uprising, since the uprising began in March until now," said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence through contacts on the ground.
Early Saturday the Syrian government denied launching the deadly offensive, saying that civilians who were killed overnight died at the hand of "gunmen," the official SANA news agency reported.
According to the report, news footage broadcast by satellite channels showed "civilians who were kidnapped and killed by gunmen."
The regime accused the militants of trying to pressure the UN to pass an anti-Assad resolution.
It was not immediately clear what precipitated the attack, but there have been reports that army defectors set up checkpoints in the area and were trying to consolidate control.