Syrian residents in the city of Homs face a looming deadline to stop anti-government protests, hand in weapons and surrender defecting military members by Monday night - or face attack by the government forces, an opposition leader said.
Syrian forces gave a 72-hour warning, said Lt. Col. Mohamed Hamdo of the Free Syrian Army, an opposition group consisting of defected Syrian military personnel. Activists on the ground said the ultimatum was issued on Friday.
The Syrian National Council, the country's leading opposition movement, had warned earlier of a potential bloodbath at the hands of the Syrian regime in Homs.
The council said evidence from activists on the ground "indicate that the regime is paving the way to commit a massacre in order to extinguish the revolution in Homs and to discipline, by example, other Syrian cities that have joined the revolution."
The government made no mention of the reported deadline on the news agency's website Sunday morning.
But the military has dug trenches around Homs, Hamdo said, and a humanitarian crisis is under way.
"There is no electricity, water, or communication whatsoever now and the communication breakdown has extended even closer to the Turkish border," he said.
The Syrian government denied reports of water and electricity being out in the city, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
State-run media also painted a picture of normalcy Monday, when state TV reported that municipal elections in the country are under way. SANA noted that more than 3,000 candidates are vying for available seats in the besieged Homs region.FULL STORY