Syria renews Homs onslaught

Syrian forces fired mortars and rockets that killed scores of people on Thursday in the rebellious city of Homs, activists said, the latest strike in a weeklong assault as President Bashar Assad’s regime tries to crush increasingly militarized pockets of dissent.

During lulls in the onslaught, Syrians used loudspeakers to call for blood donations and medical supplies. “There is medicine in the pharmacies, but getting it to the field clinics is very difficult, they can’t get the medicine to the wounded,” said Mohammed Saleh, a Syria-based activist.

As the violence grinds on, the international community is searching for new diplomatic approaches to stop the protracted bloodshed in Syria.

The regime’s crackdown on dissent has left it almost completely isolated internationally, but Assad is receiving political backing from Russia and China, which delivered a double veto over the weekend that blocked a UN resolution calling on him to leave power.

Sanctions are crippling the Syrian economy, but they have failed to stop military offensives that have led to a death toll of 5,400 people since March.

A senior Arab League official said that the Cairo-based organisation will discuss at a meeting Sunday whether to recognize the opposition Syrian National Council as the legitimate representative of Syria and whether to allow it to open offices in Arab capitals.

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