Syria bombards rebel posts in Homs

April 15, 2012 at 12:35 PM

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 15 (UPI) -- The Syrian military pounded the western city of Homs with artillery Sunday in a bid to roust pro-democracy rebels, human rights officials said.

Although the government of President Bashar Assad has permitted few journalists into the country since rebellion began in January 2011, a report Sunday from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London said there was "widespread mortar and heavy machine gunfire," Voice of America reported.

The group said in a release from London artillery shells were being fired into Homs at a rate of three per minute.

There was no report of fatalities or casualties, although the United Nations estimates at least 9,000 people have died as a result of the political upheaval since last year.

Meanwhile, the 15-member U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously authorized the deployment of 30 unarmed monitors to Syria, with an option to deploy as many as 200 more.

In Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there would be a U.N. summit there April 20 to address how to deal with at least 1 million people displaced by the violence in Syria.

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