Dubai: Syrian forces continued to bombard Homs on Saturday as Iraq claimed jihadists are crossing into Syria and weapons are being sent to opponents of President Bashar Al Assad's regime. The bloodshed showed no signs of abating, even spilling over into Lebanon.
Activists said 25 people were killed across the country, including a 55-year-old woman among seven who were killed in the latest attacks in many districts of Homs which also saw house-to-house raids. Food and medical supplies are running low in blockaded areas and many people are trapped in their houses. "We have intelligence information that a number of Iraqi jihadists went to Syria," Adnan Al Assadi told AFP, adding that "weapons smuggling is still ongoing" from Iraq to Syria. In Damascus, Brigadier General Eisa Al Kholi was killed by three gunmen outside his home as part of a "framework of targeting Syrian intellectuals and the medical and technical cadres," the official Syrian Arab News Service said. Al Kholi was the director of the Hamish Hospital in Damascus, it said.
"The situation is clearly getting worse," Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, was quoted as telling AP. "What happened in Aleppo [two blasts on Friday] is the first sign of moving toward a breakdown of the regime. It is unlikely that [Al] Assad can win this with force."
In Lebanon, two people died and 24 were wounded in fierce clashes between Sunnis hostile to Syria's regime and Alawites who support it, a security official said. With the country in worsening turmoil, Saudi Arabia has circulated a new draft for the General Assembly similar to the earlier one.
But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Moscow could not support a move at the UN General Assembly resting on "the same unbalanced draft resolution text".
The UN assembly is due to discuss Syria tomorrow and vote later in the week on the draft resolution.
The Arab League will meet in Cairo today to discuss the idea of a joint Arab-UN monitoring mission and is likely to launch a "Friends of Syria" coalition. Meanwhile, Syria has told Libya and Tunisia to close their embassies in Damascus within 72 hours.