Monday, February 20, 2012

China paper says West stirring civil war in Syria

(Reuters) - China's main newspaper accused Western countries of stirring civil war in Syria and two Iranian warships docked at a Syrian naval base, underscoring rising international tensions over the near year-long crisis.

Despite a continued government crackdown on the opposition in cities across the country, President Bashar al-Assad forged ahead with plans to hold a referendum at the end of the week.

Syrian government forces maintained their siege of pro-opposition neighborhoods of Homs, a western city at the heart of the revolt. Opposition activists reported sporadic morning shelling of Baba Amro district.

Security forces also mounted a campaign of arrests and raids in two suburbs of Deraa city and loud gunfire was heard, activists said. The reports could not be independently verified.

The Monday morning action followed a weekend which saw one of the biggest anti-Assad demonstrations yet in the capital as the pro-democracy uprising against his 11 year-rule neared its first anniversary. Read More