Chinese envoy goes to Syria

Chinese envoy goes to Syria

 A senior Chinese official was due to visit Damascus in a show of support for Bashar-al Assad after the UN General Assembly told the Syrian president to halt a violent crackdown and surrender power.

Assad showed no sign of easing his campaign to stamp out the 11-month uprising against his rule. His forces on Friday resumed pummeling opposition strongholds in the city of Homs, which has now been under fire for two weeks.

Homs’ mainly Sunni area of Baba Amro came under intense bombardment after Alawite-led government troops, backed by amour, advanced from neighbouring Inshaat, opposition activists there said.

“They are mostly firing rockets that directly fall onto buildings and mortar rounds now and then. Only Karama street now separates Baba Amro from the army at Inshaat. We will see if they advance further,” activist Aba Iyad said by satellite phone form Baba Amro.

At the Zein al-Abideen mosque in Maidan in central Damascus YouTube footage provided by activist showed about 2,000 worshippers inside chanting and clapping “Homs we are you till death... the people want the downfall of the regime.”

It was not possible to verify the origin of the video and the Syrian authorities tightly restrict media access to the country.

The UN assembly vote in New York on Thursday showed Assad had few foreign friends left — 137 states voted in favour, 12 voted against and 17 abstained on a resolution endorsing an Arab League plan that calls for Assad to step down.