July 19 - Syrian assaults intensify on Homs. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Amateur video shows mourners carrying a coffin inside a mosque in Homs. Services were held for demonstrators killed Monday. On the streets fighting erupts. Footage, which could not be independently verified by Reuters, shows citizens coming under fire. Residents say Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad killed 13 people in attacks in the city on Tuesday. Citizens say it is an escalation of a crackdown against a focal point for pro-democracy protests. Among the dead, were three mourners from the funeral. Homs has been a major center of protests against Assad's rule. Tensions have run high between the majority Sunni inhabitants and members of the Alawite minority - members of the same sect as Assad. Human rights groups say at least 1,400 civilians have been killed in Syria, since the uprising began. Assad has described the uprising as a foreign conspiracy to sow sectarian strife. His opponents argue that Assad is playing on sectarian fears to keep power for his family, which has ruled Syria for 41 years. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters