Feb. 19 - The strategic Syrian city of Homs is being bombarded by government forces in a constant siege that has lasted more than two weeks. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Amateur video out of Syria appears to show the bombardment of Homs. The video, which could not be independently verified by Reuters, comes as Egypt is withdrawing its ambassador in an effort to isolate President Bashar al-Assad. Egypt's move follows last week's Arab League call for Arab states to halt diplomatic cooperation with Syria. The United Nations estimates that more than 5,500 people have been killed since the uprising began last March. The Arab plan calls for a halt to violence and for Assad to hand power to a deputy in order to start talks with the opposition, although the opposition has said it will not hold negotiations with Assad's government. More footage shows destroyed homes in Homs. The United States, Europe, Turkey and Gulf-led Arab states have all demanded that Assad quit power. The West has ruled out any Libya-style military intervention but the Arab League, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, has indicated some of its member states were prepared to arm the opposition. China says it believes a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis is still possible. But Britain's foreign minister says he fears the Middle Eastern country will slide into civil war. Syria has banned most independent media from the country making it difficult to verify accounts from activists or the government. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters