The world's revulsion at the massacre in Houla may have prompted the co-ordinated expulsion of Syrian diplomats across the world, and a ratcheting up of rhetoric at the United Nations. But it seems to have made no difference on the ground.
Avaaz has received initial reports of tank shelling and heavy shooting from armoured vehicles by Assad’s forces in Taldahab and Taldawo, to the north and north-west of Houla. Details are only just beginning to emerge, and so far we have received reports of at least 10 civilian injuries.
Avaaz's executive director Ricken Patel said: "Today, Houla is being shelled again, illustrating the desperate need for a massive UN presence on the ground with a mandate to protect the living, not just count dead children."
'Trying to bleed us out'
Activists and the few residents that remain in the town suspect the regime will try to bleed out Free Syrian Army fighters from Houla. One activist in Houla told Avaaz: “We think they are leaving the town to besiege it from the outside and start heavy shelling from there, to wipe out FSA forces. Just like they did in Baba Amr.”
Here is fresh footage of tank fire in Houla:
Nowhere for the injured to go
Meanwhile, at least seven civilians died today in Qusayr, after it was bombed by regime forces for a third straight day. The shelling reached its peak today in the western areas of Qusayr, in the villages of Mawh and Houri, which are sheltering thousands of civilians displaced from the city of Homs.
Activists said the local field hospital was overflowing with people injured in the attack and did not have the capacity or resources to cope with such an influx. The shelling continued throughout the day, and regime forces have blocked the Jousiah-Kharab crossing close to the Lebanese border, preventing activists from transferring the injured to Lebanon for medical treatment.
Activists said this was the only available crossing point in the region – other border crossings require walking through rugged mountain terrain unfit for vehicles, which would be impossible for those with injuries. They warned of a humanitarian crisis as medical supplies run out, with the regime's siege of the city blocking any fresh supplies.
Take action: The world cannot continue to look away. Join Avaaz's call for at least 3,000 peacekeepers on the ground, and for an immediate end to the violence.