Syrian authorities are reportedly bombing the city of Homs on Monday for a tenth straight day straight. The sustained assault comes just as Arab and western countries are expected to launch a new initiative at the United Nations aimed at forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to halt his government’s campaign against opposition protesters. Reuters is reporting tanks fired into two Homs neighbourhoods where opponents of Mr. Assad have taken refuge, where either 23 or 26 people are believed killed. Keeping an accurate deathtoll in Syria has been relegated to opposition groups since most foreign journalists have not been allowed into the country and aid groups have also had limited access to the conflict areas.
The foreign ministers of several Arab countries attended a meeting in Cairo on Sunday, where they authorized a joint UN-Arab League peacekeeping mission that would supervise a still-hypothetical cease-fire. The plan will be taken to the UN General Assembly this week. Resolutions from the assembly, however, carry less weight than those from the the Security Council, where Russia and China have blocked efforts to condemn the Syrian crisis. The Arab League also announced the end of its oft-maligned observer mission to Syria, which had done little to stop the fighting. Syria’s state news agency, Sana, said the government categorically rejected the Arab League’s proposal while Russia and China remained undecided. On Sunday, an unwelcome and sinister support to Syria’s opposition came from al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.