Smoke billows from buildings in the restive Syrian city of Homs
A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network on July 1, shows smoke billowing from buildings in the restive city of Homs. AFP cannot independently verify this image. Syrian regime forces pounded several rebel-held districts in the central city of Homs on Tuesday, as the death toll mounted across the country, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. © - AFP/Shaam News/File
Smoke billows from buildings in the restive Syrian city of Homs
AFP
Last updated: July 3, 2012

Syria troops pound Homs

Syrian troops pounded several rebel-held districts in the central city of Homs on Tuesday, as the death toll mounted across the country, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In total, at least 48 people were killed on Tuesday, bringing to more than 120 the death toll over two days, the Britain-based watchdog reported.

Two civilians and three rebels were killed in Homs, as clashes raged in and around the neighbourhood of Baba Amr, a former rebel stronghold that the army seized on March 1 after a fierce 27-day assault.

Rebels and troops also battled for the district of Khaldiyeh, the monitoring group said. Khaldiyeh is one of several rebel-held districts of Homs that have been besieged by the army for almost a month.

On Monday troops tried to storm the encircled district of Jourat al-Shiah, according to the Observatory.

Troops also rained shells in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the 16-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, killing six people, the watchdog said. Among the victims were a woman and her three children.

In the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, much of which is rebel-controlled, violent clashes broke out with regime forces, at least four of whom were killed, the Observatory said.

The Local Coordination Committees -- a network of activists on the ground -- said "125 families fled the city of Deir Ezzor and its suburbs ... as a result of the unrelenting military attacks."

Several areas of Damascus province also saw heavy violence, the Observatory said. Troops shelled the town of Arbeen, killing one child, while two people were shot dead by snipers near the city of Douma.

Of those killed on Tuesday, at least 18 were troops and six were rebels.

Earlier, the Observatory reported at least 78 people were confirmed killed across Syria on Monday, 44 of them civilians.

The watchdog also said it had received reports that 15 people were shot dead in a village in the central province of Hama, although it had been unable to confirm the names of those killed in the Sunni-populated village of Douma.

The reported killings followed the assassination in the area late on Sunday of three pro-government militiamen.

More than 16,500 people have been killed in violence in Syria since the uprising erupted in March last year, according to the Observatory.

This figure is impossible to independently verify, and the United Nations no longer publishes its own estimates of the death toll.

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