People pray near the coffins of victims of the bomb blast on Friday at Al Eiman Mosque in Aleppo, Syria, on Sunday. Image Credit: Reuters

Homs Syrian security forces carried out their heaviest pounding of the central protest city of Homs in the past 14 days on Friday, an activist on the ground said.

"It's the most violent in 14 days. It's unbelievable - extreme violence the like of which we have never seen before, with an average of four rockets every minute," Hadi Abdullah of the opposition General Commission of the Syrian Revolution told AFP.

"In addition to the districts of Baba Amr and Inshaat, Khaldiyeh and Bayyada were pounded on Friday, but the shelling of these neighbourhoods was not as intense as in recent days," he said.

Military planes

The activist said that an "unprecedented" number of military planes and surveillance aircraft were overflying Homs.

Footage of the assault showed a tank firing on Homs, according to a video posted by activists on video-sharing website YouTube.

The latest bombardment comes after the UN General Assembly on Thursday demanded an immediate halt to Syria's brutal crackdown on dissent, which human rights groups say has claimed more than 6,000 lives over the past 11 months.

Compromise with Russia

Dubai: France said on Thursday that compromise with Russia at the Security Council was possible to end the violence in Syria as more than 22 people were killed in crackdown on protest hubs ahead of a UN vote on the crisis.

The Syrian regime troops pummelled Homs for a 13th straight day, with 18 people killed in central Hama province and four others dying in the southern city of Daraa.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it fears security forces carried out a massacre in Daraa, where dozens of civilians disappeared after being cornered in a valley.

“There are fears regime forces carried out a massacre in Sahm Al Julan,” the Britain-based group was quoted as saying.

Speaking after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Vienna, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Paris would not accept the existing political status quo in Syria in the long run.

“We can possibly reach a compromise on a short-term objective which is to end the massacres,” Juppe said.

“We must do everything so that the violence ends and that a lot of humanitarian aid is given to the Syrian people,” he said.

The two countries were prepared to work on a new Security Council resolution despite Moscow vetoing a version based on an Arab League transition plan on February 4, Juppe said.

“We are ready to work in New York on a draft resolution inspired by the Arab League to stop the violence and provide humanitarian aid,” he said.

Lavrov told a separate news conference that he had not yet heard enough details from Juppe about the plan.

“I cannot express my opinion on the French proposal because I received none. The minister told me they are thinking of a new resolution which will be intended to help delivery of humanitarian assistance ... with the consent of all those who have arms on the ground.”

He added: “I expressed my readiness to take a look at this as soon as it is ready.”
The UN General Assembly was to vote later yesterday on a measure condemning repression in Syria.

Meanwhile, China said it was sending an envoy to the country to push for peace. Vice-Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, who will travel to Syria today, said China believed that “sanctions or the threat of sanctions are not conducive to the appropriate resolution of this issue”.