Syrian President Bashar Assad’s military assault on Homs Tuesday killed at least 48 people in eight hours, anti-government activists report U.S. Sen. John McCain urges military intervention.
Homs, a center of anti-Assad demonstrations, was shelled for the fifth straight day. The body count could not be verified because of the official ban on foreign media. The government-controlled media allege that “armed terrorists” were shooting from within the city.
Despite the gag on media, BBC said one of its reporters is embedded with rebel fighters. He reported the bombardment from machine guns mounted on tanks was so heavy that it was too dangerous to go outside to help the wounded or count the dead. He added that residents fear Assad will order a ground invasion.
A BBC reporter in Beirut said there were reports that Assad‘s secret police and soldiers murdered 19 people from three families.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who visited Damascus on Tuesday, voiced continued support from Moscow for Assad, saying that the conflict should be solved by Syrians and not by others.
The Obama administrating reportedly is in a quandary, having rejected direct military help for the rebels while having no diplomatic solution to end the nearly year-long brutal suppression of the Arab Spring protests that have grown into a full-scale rebellion.
U.S. Republican Senator John McCain urged that the United States arm Syrian opposition groups
"We should start considering all options, including arming the opposition,” he told visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Tuesday. “The blood-letting has got to stop," said McCain, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
One consideration not often mentioned is the chance the conflict will force into Israel into war as Assad continues to allow munitions – including chemical weapons – to fall into the hands of Hizbullah terrorist in Lebanon.
"The question is when, not if [Assad will fall]. And the big question is what will happen the following day,” said newly-appointed Israel Air Force Commander Major General Emir Eshel "What has been passed on to Hizbullah so far? What will be passed on in the future? What will be divided between the two factions in Syria?"
An unnamed defense official told the Hebrew-language Yisrael HaYom newspaper that Israel cannot stand by silently with chemical weapons in the hands of Hizbullah.
It has previously been reported that Hizbullah already has smuggled into Lebanon long-range Scud missiles, which can reach metropolitan Tel Aviv.