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1450 GMT: Syria. Homs has been heavily shelled today, but as we reported yesterday, the Free Syrian Army is now on the offensive. The Guardian’s Mona Mahmood has spoken to a resident of the city, Hadi Al-Abdullah, who says that many areas that do not have members of the Free Syrian Army have also been shelled. Al-Abdullah suggests that these areas are filled with refugees from Rastan and Talbiseh, two embattled FSA strongholds north of the city, and the reason for the bombardment is revenge. He also suggests, however, that the FSA is prepared, and perhaps capable, of breaking the infamous siege of what was once Syria’s 4th largest city: Till now we have at least four martyrs and 50 wounded all over Homs. The FSA men are launching today a battle named “Homs siege break-up” or “Homs Liberation”. For more than 70 days we’ve been asking for help and an easing of the siege on the city - there are 12 districts in Homs that have been under siege for 70 days - but no one is listening to us. There are more than 1200 families and 700 wounded who need urgent help but no one can help.The Red Cross came here for four times but it was useless as the Syrian army did not let its team get inside. Other humanitarian and legal organizations tried to help but they could not. They were denied access by the Syrian army. The FSA men decided to break up the siege of Homs because they believe no one else will do it. All the fighting brigades in Homs city and its countryside declared their unity and coordination in breaking up the siege on Homs. Now, in the northern part of the countryside, heavy clashes are going on between the FSA and the Syrian regime. The FSA are attacking all the check points there to ease the siege on Homs and they won’t stop until they liberate the whole of Homs. 1300 GMT: Bahrain. The Information Affairs Authority has posted the text of King Hamad’s speech for Independence Day. The monarch, claiming reforms and progress, focused on a call for unity against troublemakers supported by outside forces: We have had to endure this year through challenging conditions due to hostile ambitions and foreign intervention which are yet to cease. We stood as united front in the face of strife mongers. We faced them with determination and persistent willpower as our duty and responsibility makes it imperative to defend this homeland, we will maintain our national unity and protect Bahraini people. During the zenith of such difficulties, we upheld wisdom, patience and forbearance and opened the doors for dialogue and called for forgiveness and tolerance as we rely on Allah alone and trust in His guaranteed victory. Nevertheless, we have been quite alert and well aware of hostile ambitions that could come from outside of the country. However. we are not unaware of our internal problems and we have always striven to solve and overcome them like other countries which respect their peoples’ and seek what is in their best interest and welfare…. Today, we have improved more than yesterday in all spheres. Nobody can deny this except those who are mistaken.