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Syria: Over 100 dead in clashes today, activists say

55 were reported killed in Idlib province; the White House softens its stance on arming Syria's opposition.

Syria red cross homs idlib massacreEnlarge
Militants with the Free Syrian Army sit in the back of pick-up truck in the northwestern city of Idlib, on February 21, 2012. Syrian forces blitzed opposition hubs and opened fire to disperse daring protesters in the capital, monitors said, as the Red Cross sought ways to deliver aid to afflicted areas. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian activists reported a barrage of shelling and military action on Tuesday that resulted in 106 deaths, according to the Local Coordination Committees. The Associated Press reported that 63 were confirmed dead, but counts have inched upwards in what appears to be one of the bloodiest days since the siege of Homs began 18 days ago. Shells hit Homs at a rate of one every six seconds, resuming a tempo seen during the bloodiest days of last week.

The LCC said 55 died in Idlib, 45 in Homs, and more in other cities. "Ten children, three women and five defected recruits," were included in the dead, the LLC said in a press release. These numbers could not be confirmed by outside news organizations. Reuters said over 30 were confirmed dead after Syrian troops cleared villages of rebels in Idlib province.

The neighborhoods of Damascus that saw violence were Hamouriya, Madaya and Douma, according to the LCC. 

More form GlobalPost: Syria: the two faces of a divided country

The International Committee of the Red Cross called today for a daily two hour ceasefire in Homs, the AP reported. Food supplies are running low, according to the ICRC, which said in a press release "In Homs and in other affected areas, entire families have been stuck for days in their homes, unable to step outside to get bread, other food or water, or to obtain medical care."

Washington supported the Red Cross call, the BBC reported. "If they don't die in the shelling, they will die of hunger," an activist told the AP.

In a press briefing today, White House press secretary Jay Carney also "opened the door" to arming Syria's opposition for the first time, according to the AP. Carney stressed the White House's hopes for a peaceful solution, "[b]ut we don't rule out additional measures if the international community should wait too long and not take the kind of action that needs to be taken," he said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120221/activists-over-100-dead-syria-clashes-today