In the 11 months of President Bashar al-Assad's bloody crackdown in Syria, the assault on Homs has been the bloodiest. This western Syrian city of roughly 1 million people, close to the border with Lebanon, has been a flashpoint of the Syrian revolt. Residents of Homs have taken to the streets for months to call for Assad's ouster, and many of the city's neighborhoods have broken away from the regime's control.
On the eve of a climactic vote in the U.N. Security Council on a resolution to condemn the Syrian government's crackdown, Assad decided to punish Homs once more. On Feb. 3, an estimated 200 people were killed as Syrian security forces unleashed a mortar barrage on the city -- making it the most violent day of the Syrian uprising to date. Then on Feb. 5, after Russia and China vetoed the Security Council resolution, Assad renewed his attack, with activists reporting another 31 people dead.
Above, an undated handout photograph made available by the Local Coordination Committees on Feb. 8 shows damages inside a home following shelling at the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs. Syrian government forces pushed deep into the restive central province of Homs on Feb. 8, killing at least 68 people, including a reported 18 babies.
EPA/LOCAL COORDINATION COMMITTEES LCC/HANDOUT