Feb. 7 - Russia expressed confidence in Assad's commitment to ending the violence in Syria while rebels said his forces killed over 100 people in Homs. Deborah Gembara reports.
Emerging from a morning of meetings with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Russian officials expressed confidence in Syria's leadership. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. SOUNDBITE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying: "The president of Syria assured us he was completely committed to the task of stopping violence regardless of where it may come from, according to what was mentioned in the initiative." He was referring to an earlier Arab League initiative calling for international monitors in Syria, troop withdrawals from cities and the release of political prisoners. The Russian diplomat stopped short however of supporting the League's call for Assad to step down. To many in Syria, and aboard, the message sounded all too familiar. it also comes amid reports of a military onslaught in Homs. Video posted to a social media website which Reuters cannot independently verify purports to show locals scrambling for cover with the sound of artillery fire in the background. It also shows a tank on a city street --- in violation of the Arab League agreement. Meanwhile in Egypt there were dire predictions about Assad's future. Former Arab League chief and presidential hopeful, Amr Moussa: SOUNDBITE: Former chief of the Arab League and presidential hopeful, Amr Moussa saying: "I believe that it is a matter of time, it is a matter of time, it is the history in the making of Arab region, so change will continue to be the real driving force in the life of the Middle East and in the Arab world, what is being done by the Arab league now should be supported and that the Syrian people will not be suffer for long time." Syria's pledge to end the bloodshed coincides with opposition group claims that nearly 100 people were killed in Homs on Monday and as many as 300 over the past five days. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.