Meanwhile, the Syrian government said a helicopter was shot down in the northern town of Nubul, near Aleppo. Seven civilians and the helicopter crew were killed in the incident.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said: “armed terrorist gangs have targeted a helicopter over the town of Nubul. The helicopter was carrying Ministry of Education staff who were delivering school examination papers for students in the town.”
Meanwhile, the army continued its onslaught on the city of Homs. Activists in the city said: “heavy bombardment by mortars and artillery have targeted the old districts of Homs.” Other sources said: “the old market in the city was destroyed by mortars fired by the Syrian army, and smoke was seen bellowing out.”
SANA has quoted an unnamed military source as saying that “a number of terrorists were eliminated and had their weapons and ammunition destroyed in the Al-Khalidiyah district, where the army was making great progress.”
The Syrian Revolution General Coalition (SRGC) called on Saturday on its international backers to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, to ground the government’s air force.
A statement by the coalition said discussions about holding international conferences was not enough, and that “time was of the essence for fast and effective decisions to be made by the Friends of Syria especially, and by taking decisive military measures, imposing a no-fly zone, and directing precise military strikes at the regime’s strongholds.”
The coalition added: “the flagrant interference by Russia and Iran in supporting the regime to oppress the Syrian people has become obvious and could no longer be tolerated.”
The UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said clashes have also continued in the Aleppo region. Reports said that opposition forces killed four government soldiers and captured three in the Al-Rashideen district of Aleppo. The opposition forces also reportedly destroyed a Syrian army tank.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are due to meet on the fringes of the ASEAN forum in Brunei, and are expected to discuss the Syrian conflict and the peace conference proposed earlier this year by both men, dubbed Geneva II.