After a relatively quiet weekend that saw nearly 50 people killed, heavy shelling resumed this morning in the neighborhood of Bab Amr in the city of Homs, Syria. Tuesday marks the tenth day of the Syrian Army’s assault on Homs, and activists tell ABC News that over 500 people have been killed since February 4th.
The livestream over Bab Amr shows a constant stream of shelling and gunfire, and there are unconfirmed reports that several people have died in the early attacks. Video posted on YouTube shows flames shooting into the air after an apparent explosion.
“God is great,” screams the man filming. “Look at the explosions in Bab Amr, the city’s houses are on fire.”
The next video reportedly shows heavy artillery and gunfire raining down on the Bab Amr neighborhood.
Today’s renewed assault comes one day after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay warned that the UN Security Council’s failure to take action has only strengthened Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
“The failure of the Security Council to agree on firm collective action appears to have emboldened the Syrian government to plan an all out assault in an effort to crush resistance with overwhelming force… I am particularly appalled by the ongoing violence in Homs,” Pillay told the UN General Assembly on Monday.
Pillay said that in addition to the tens of thousands reported missing and detained inside the country, the conflict has spilled over Syria’s borders. The UN estimates that over 70,000 people have been internally displaced and at least 25,000 people have fled, seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
“The breadth and patterns of attacks by military and security forces on civilians, and the widespread destruction of homes, hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure indicate approval or complicity by authorities at the highest level,” Pillay added.
Analysts say the conflict is gravitating towards full blown civil war, with no sign of Assad letting up. As the Guardian‘s Martin Chulov described the situation from Homs last week, “a grinding war of attrition has now become an unforgiving battle to the death.”