Report: 337 dead in Syrian government assault

Syrian forces launch offensive on Homs, killing and wounding hundreds, Al Arabiya reports; Syrian authorities deny attack.UN Security Council readies to vote on resolution to unseat President Assad

News Agencies


In a barrage of mortar shells, Syrian forces killed at least 337 people and wounded 1,300 in Arab League softening Russian stance on Syria resolution


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 Syria, said a diplomat for a Western nation that sits on the council.


The diplomat spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be quoted by the media.


The move toward a vote came after US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an effort to overcome Russian opposition to any statement that explicitly calls for regime change or a military intervention in Syria.


The US and its partners have ruled out military action but want the global body to endorse an Arab League plan that calls on Assad to hand power over to Syria’s vice president.



Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Gennady Gatilov, said Friday that Moscow could not support the resolution in its current form. But he expressed optimism that an agreement could be reached, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.


Assad’s regime has been intensifying an assault against army defectors and protesters. The UN said weeks ago that more than 5,400 people have been killed in violence since March. Hundreds more have been killed since that tally was announced.


Roi Kais, AP and AFP contributed to the repor