Several parts of Homs were shelled Wednesday morning while Damascus witnessed overnight explosions, close on the heels of UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's warning that the recent violence had left Syria at a tipping point.
Fresh violence erupted Wednesday after the UN monitors reported mass killings, some of which involving close-range shootings of scores of children and parents in their homes.
Intense firefight destroyed homes in Homs Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based opposition group, was cited in a report by the CNN. Shelling was also reported in the cities of Douma, Haish and Kafromah, the group said. At least 10 people were estimated to have been killed, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.
A UN report Tuesday said that 49 children and 34 women were among the 108 people who died in Houla, a collection of villages in Syria's Homs province, but did not say who were responsible for the killings. Survivors of the massacre have blamed the regime-sponsored militia for some of the killings, further isolating its government from the international community.
China Wednesday reiterated its opposition to military intervention in Syria and called for negotiations with the Syrian regime.
China opposes military intervention and does not support forced regime change, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin was quoted as saying by Reuters. The fundamental route to resolving (the crisis) is still for all sides to fully support Annan's mediation efforts.
Liu declined to say whether China would expel Syrian diplomats, after Western governments had expelled their Syrian envoys in a diplomatic blow to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. I have not heard that there has been any impact on the Syrian embassy in China, he said.
China and Russia had both earlier blocked two UNSC resolutions calling for tougher actions against the Syrian regime, insisting on negotiations to broker a peace deal.
Japan Wednesday joined the Western protest against Syria by ordering the Syrian ambassador in Tokyo to leave the country. The US, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria had already ordered top Syrian diplomats to leave the countries. Syria's state-run media Wednesday sharply criticized the decisions by the Western nations to expel the diplomats, saying that the move represented an unprecedented hysteria.
Annan has called for a ceasefire between the rebels and the regime forces, calling on Assad to implement bold steps to end the crisis.
If the plan is not implemented, I would worry for the future of Syria. I would worry about stability in the country, he said. If we do not (implement the plan), may God help us.