23 civilians killed in Syria amid anger

23 civilians killed in Syria amid anger

 The Syrian army killed at least 23 civilians on Saturday — 17 in the flashpoint southern city of Daraa and six in the central city of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed.

Nine women and three kids  were among the 17 killed in a pre-dawn bombardment of a residential neighbourhood of Daraa, the British-based watchdog said. Dozens more were wounded, some of them seriously, in the city which was the birthplace of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule which erupted in March last year, the watchdog said.

Meanwhile, anger grew over a massacre in a central village, as UN observers who visited Al-Kubeir said they witnessed blood on the walls and “a strong stench of burnt flesh,” prompting Western governments to launch a push for tough new sanctions against Damascus.

The Observatory said mobile communications in Daraa were cut off on Saturday morning. Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said that the bombardment might have been in reprisal for increased rebel attacks on government troops in recent days.

“Rebels have been attacking checkpoints in many areas across the country in the evenings,” he said.

Diplomats in New York said Britain, France and the United States would quickly draw up a Security Council resolution proposing sanctions against Syria. “We will move fast to press for a resolution,” one UN diplomat said.

More than 20 unarmed UN observers were allowed into Al-Kubeir on Friday, a day after they were shot at and prevented from entering the village.

UN officials have made it clear they believe government forces and allies were behind the attack on the mainly Sunni Muslim village surrounded by an Alawite population loyal to Assad.

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