Middle East

Homs Is Calm, A Day After Syria-Wide Protests

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The shelling in Homs has stopped for the moment. A small advance team of United Nations observers are visiting the country. On Friday, thousands turned out for anti-government protesters across Syria. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports that activists say at least 16 people were killed.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. The U.N. Security Council has passed a resolution that would call for hundreds of monitors to enter Syria should the Syrian government not keep to the terms of a cease-fire. The government was supposed to pull its troops and heavy arms out of cities and towns, but as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports, dozens of people were killed during protests yesterday.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: Thousands of people turned out for anti-government protests across Syria yesterday, and in some cases, government forces responded with tear gas, live ammunition and intimidation.


MCEVERS: This amateur video provided by activists show protesters fleeing from pro-government thugs in the city of Hama. Activists say at least 16 civilians were killed across Syria, either in attacks on protesters or in all-out shelling of neighborhoods like this one in the city of Homs that has been known to harbor armed rebels.


MCEVERS: Syrian state TV claims the rebels are the ones who violated the cease-fire. It says 18 soldiers were killed by rebels in southern and central Syria. If passed, the new U.N. Security Council resolution will send some 300 unarmed observers into Syria. There is already a small advance team of observers in the country now. If the government does not comply with the cease-fire, the Security Council will consider ,quote, "further steps."

Russia opposes any specific references to sanctions or military intervention, so for now the Security Council remains vague. So far today, residents of hot spots like the city of Homs say the shelling by government troops has stopped - for the moment. They say that's because some U.N. observers are visiting the city. Kelly McEvers, NPR New, Beirut.

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