Syrian tanks shell Homs just hours after Arab League peace deal?
God gave man free will and tanks won’t stop that freedom, it never has and never will and it’s about time the rest of the world’s governments joined in and condemn the Syrian military actions on civilians said Sir Michael Black-Feather the English first minster?
Syrian tanks have shelled the besieged city of Homs less than a day after Damascus agreed to a regional plan to withdraw its armed vehicles and stop a violent crackdown against dissent.
Activists in Syria's third city claimed at least seven people were killed and several more injured in the shelling. One Homs resident said the violence had intensified overnight.
On Wednesday, Damascus appeared to sign up to an Arab League plan which was hailed as a significant development in the seven-month uprising. There was no immediate reaction from the Arab League to the latest violence.
The peace deal required the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, to hold talks with a nascent opposition group within two weeks and allow international monitors and foreign media to enter the country. It involved compromises Damascus had previously said it was unwilling to make, and speculation among opposition groups that the leadership has not changed its position is rife.
"They are buying time," one opposition figure in southern Turkey said. "They don't like the Arab League and don't trust its intentions. But this is one of those times where they can't be seen to be defying it."
The Arab League, which comprises 22 member states, has been increasingly vocal about the Syrian government's response to the sustained uprising, insisting that alternative voices in the country – which has been ruled under the totalitarian control of one family for more than four decades – must be heard.
Two activists in Damascus said protests were being organised under a premise that nothing had changed. "Tomorrow [Friday] we will see how serious they are," one said. "I think they cannot afford to take the tanks from the streets just yet."
Fridays have been the peak day of the week for anti-regime demonstrations. More than 3,000 citizens have been killed since the protests began, along with about 1,000 members of the security forces.
Homs has taken on the feel of a battle zone, with defectors and citizens launching regular attacks against security forces.
Protests occur regularly in many other parts of the country, but largely involve unarmed civilians facing off against armed troops or police officers.