Syrian Activists Warn Of 'Massive Ground Invasion' In Embattled City Of Homs
Activists have warned of an imminent full-scale ground assault on the embattled Syrian city of Homs.
The unconfirmed warning suggested that the Assad regime, which has shelled the city for almost two weeks in a widely-condemned attack on anti-government forces, was planning "a massive ground invasion".
Dima Moussa, who is an American-Syrian and a member of the Syrian National Council, an opposition group based in Turkey, made the warning via email citing sources inside the national armed forces.
"The Assad regime is packing its forces and bringing in reinforcements in massive numbers around the neighbourhood of Baba Amr, in Homs, which has been under siege and under violent bombing and shelling for nearly two weeks," she said.
"We have received information from cooperative officers who are still in the Assad army that security and army forces are planning a massive ground invasion of Baba Amr, no matter what the cost is and no matter what the number of casualties is, even if they have to annihilate everyone in the neighbourhood."
Moussa told the Huffington Post UK that a reported deadline for the city to surrender had passed, and that the regime wanted to take revenge for residents shielding defected members of the army.
It was not possible for the Huffington Post UK to verify the claim independently, but several other sources have said that violent attacks on civilians continued in Homs throughout Friday.
Al Jazeera reported that rockets were falling on Homs every 15 seconds.
"It's the most violent in 14 days. It's unbelievable - extreme violence the like of which we have never seen before," said Hadi Abdullah, of the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution, according to Al Jazeera.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that nine people were found dead on Friday morning after heavy shelling.
A video posted to YouTube which claimed to have been recorded on Friday also showed heavy shelling.
The attacks on Homs are estimated to have killed up to 400 people, activists said, while around 6,000 are thought to have died since the start of protests in March 2011.
Meanwhile it was reported that the Syrian government has blocked access to Bambuser, a website offering live video of the embattled city of Homs, after the UN adopted a resolution condemning the regime.
News media including the Huffington Post UK have used the site to monitor the developing humanitarian disaster in Homs, after almost two weeks of constant shelling by government forces.
On Wednesday one stream broadcast dramatic footage of black smoke blocking out the sky above the neighbourhood of Baba Amr after an explosion at an oil line.
The footage of the explosion's aftermath can still be viewed online.
In Paris Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Britain would send £2m of aid to Syria in an attempt to provide medical supplies and food for people in Homs.
In a meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy, the two reaffirmed their commitment to find a meaningful international response to the violence, which has so far proven elusive.
The move came as the UN General Assembly voted in favour by an overwhelming majority for a resolution calling for an end to the violence against civilians.
Just 12 countries voted against the resolution, which also called on President Bashar al-Assad to resign.
They included Russia and China, who previously vetoed a similar resolution in the Security Council, as well as Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe and Cuba, along with Syria itself.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the resolution was "unbalanced".
Meanwhile a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, Anthony Shadid, died on assignment in the country after suffering an asthma attack.