Violence may derail Syrian peace plan
There was another massacre in Homs yesterday with 13 civilians shot down in cold blood and another 17 killed in the shelling.
The body count for yesterday was 53 - a clear sign that whatever peace deal Assad agreed to, he is likely to find an excuse to reneg.
Syrian troops pounded opposition areas on Saturday, activists said, killing 53 people in an offensive that has sent thousands of refugees surging into Turkey before next week's U.N.-backed ceasefire aimed at staunching a year of bloodshed.
Each side has accused the other of intensifying assaults in the run-up to the truce due to take effect early on Thursday if government forces begin pulling back from towns 48 hours earlier in line with U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.
The military shelled Deir Baalba district in the restive city of Homs, killing four people, the grassroots Local Coordination Committees opposition group said. Thirteen men were also found killed in cold blood in the same area, it said.
Amateur activist video showed scenes of carnage said to be the aftermath of the shelling. Mangled limbs and body parts in blankets were being loaded on a pick-up truck. A second video showed 13 men who appeared to have been tied up and executed.
No comment was immediately available from Syrian officials. The videos could not be independently verified. The government has placed tight restrictions on media access in Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 53 people had been killed, including 40 in an army attack on al-Latmana, in Hama province, that began on Friday. In an activist video from the town, mourners held aloft the limp corpse of a child. Bodies were laid out in a row on the ground.
Assad has until the 10th to pull out of the towns and cease fire. He shows no inclination to do so at the moment, which means he will try to find a way to blame any break down in the peace deal on the rebels. This should be easy enough since the opposition says it won't talk as long as Assad is in power.
Refugees are becoming a big problem for Turkey, once Syria's close friend. Prime Minister Erdogan is now openly pushing for some kind of humanitarian corridor to be opened that would stem the flow of Syrian civilians in his country. This also is not likely to happen since such a corridor would have to be patrolled and protected by foreign troops - something Assad will never agree to.