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3:37am UK, Saturday February 04, 2012
At least 200 people have been killed in a district of the Syrian city of Homs, a human rights group has claimed.
In a late night telephone call to Sky News, Abu Rami Alhomsy of the Syrian Revolutionary General Commission, said the late night shelling lasted more than three hours.
“It was a normal day for a demonstration but last night they started shelling this neighbourhood,” he said.
“We have many injuries. Many women and children have been killed and injured.”
As explosions apparently sounded in the background, Mr Alhomsy said: “I am hiding in the street with many people around me. They are shooting into here from an outside area.
“Oh my God.”
It is not possible to verify activist or state media reports as the Syrian government restricts access for independent media.
As news of the violence spread, activists used social media sites to orchestrate protests at Syrian diplomatic outposts abroad.
Embassies in Egypt and Germany were attacked, with at least 30 people storming the Berlin premises.
Sky’s Simon Newton witnessed more than 150 protesters chanting outside the London embassy at 3am this morning. Paint had been hurled and windows smashed at the Belgravia site.
Another protest was arranged outside Syria’s embassy in Washington DC, with activists live streaming the event.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 217 people were killed in the Khalidya district of Homs.
“This is the worst attack of the uprising, since the uprising began in March until now,” Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the London-based observatory, said.
“Syrian forces are shelling the district with mortars from several locations,” he said.
Activists said hundreds of people were wounded in the attack, north of the capital Damascus.
Homs has become a flashpoint of the 10-month revolt against the regime of President Bashar al Assad.
The night assault comes ahead of a UN Security Council vote later today on a resolution condemning the violence in Syria.
It is still not clear whether the council will support an Arab League plan calling for President Assad to stand down.