Syrian Activists Say 200 Killed in Government Crackdown, Hundreds Wounded
In a barrage of shelling, Syrian forces killed 200 people and wounded hundreds early Saturday in Homs in an offensive that appears to be the bloodiest episode in the nearly 11-month-old uprising, activists said.
The offensive was reported in Homs, which has been one of the main flashpoints of opposition to the regime during the uprising against President Bashar Assad.
Two main opposition groups, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees, said the death toll was more than 200 people. More than half of the killings — about 140 — were reported in the Khaldiyeh neighborhood.
“This is the worst attack of the uprising, since the uprising began in March until now,” said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the Observatory, which tracks violence through contacts on the ground.
The reports could not be independently confirmed.
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.
Assad is trying to crush the revolt with a sweeping crackdown that has so far claimed thousands of lives, but neither the government nor the protesters are backing down and clashes between the military and an increasingly bold and armed opposition has meant many parts of the country have seen relentless violence.