The current news from the BBC Internet News service concerning Syria
Heavy artillery fire has been rocking Homs, as Syrian troops step up an assault on the restive city.
A BBC correspondent there describes almost constant blasts, in the fiercest attack in the 11-month uprising.
US President Barack Obama said it was important to resolve the conflict without outside military intervention.
Meanwhile, Russia and China defended their veto of a UN draft resolution criticising Syria – a move that angered opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.
Later the US State Department said it had closed its embassy in Damascus and pulled out all remaining staff because of security concerns.