More than 100 killed in Syria

Syrian forces killed more than 100 people Friday, many in the besieged city of Homs, where the Red Cross is removing injured women and children.

Many deaths in Homs, where Red Cross is removing women, children

Syrian forces have killed more than 100 people in the central area of the country, including the city of Homs, where the Red Cross has begun removing injured women and children.

The Local Coordincation Committees said civilians were killed in the continued bombardment of Homs and in attacks on the countryside of Hama and the east and north of the country on Friday.

Red Cross teams in Homs are still negotiating with rebels and government forces to remove all the wounded from Homs,  including two journalists.

Since Friday afternoon, the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been in Baba Amr, the neighbourhood in Homs that has become the centre of the Syrian revolt, agency officials say.

Syrian Canadians

Dr. Ahmed Chaker, a member of the Syrian National Council and co-founder of the Syrian Canadian Council, told CBC News that the Canadian government's response to the atrocities in Syria has been "very weak up to now."

"We are expecting Canada to do much more [to push] for a humanitarian mission, for a medical mission … through the UN, through any way. We need Canada to do something today."

Chaker added any humanitarian mission should involve "safe corridors" supported by planes and ships.

French journalists Edith Bouvier and William Daniels have asked for help leaving embattled Homs after Bouvier was wounded in shelling Wednesday that killed U.S.-born veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

The Red Cross called the removal of the women and children a "first step forward."

Late on Friday, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Canada would provide an additional $1.5 million in aid to Syrian refugees. He called for an immediate ceasefire.

"We call on Syria to immediately allow full, safe, rapid, and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance to all those in need," Baird, who is in Tunisia attending an international conference, said in a news release.

 "All countries must stop the supply of arms to Assad’s regime engaged in killing its own people."

'More blood on its hands'

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the meeting in Tunisia that the Syrian regime will have "more blood on its hands" if it doesn't immediately comply with ceasefire demands being issued by a group of 70 Western and Arab nations.

In remarks to the Friends of Syria conference, Clinton blasted Russia and China as "despicable" for opposing UN Security Council action on Syria. In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama urged action, saying his government will keep pressuring the Syrian president to stop the "slaughter" of civilians.

For a week now, the Friends of Syria group has been demanding an immediate ceasefire so humanitarian aid can be delivered to Syrians who have suffered under a yearlong assault, especially those in the city of Homs, which has been under bombardment for three weeks.

"If the Assad regime refuses to allow this life-saving aid to reach civilians, it will have ever more blood on its hands," Clinton said Friday, noting the same was true of nations like Russia and China, which are supporting Assad.

About 200 pro-Syria demonstrators tried to storm the hotel in Tunis where the conference is being held by Arab and Western officials over the crisis in Syria.

Arms embargo

Meanwhile, Syria's neighbour Turkey appealed to the Friends of Syria meeting in Tunisia on Friday to enforce an arms embargo against the troubled country.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose country has been receiving hundreds of refugees across its southern border, called on the world to find ways to deny the Syrian government "the means with which to perpetrate atrocities against the Syrian people."

Assets frozen

France's top diplomat says the European Union will freeze the assets of Syria's central bank at a meeting Monday.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppé made the announcement at the conference being held in Tunisia to pressure the Syrian regime to end a violent crackdown on the opposition.

Juppé told the delegates in the closed session that the EU was planning on implementing "strong new measures" in its meeting Monday including "freezing the assets" of the bank.

Associated Press

Earlier, Syrian government supporters waving Syrian and Tunisian flags tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama. Police wielding truncheons stopped them from entering the convention hotel venue and drove them out of the parking lot after about 15 minutes.

The Western and Arab allies are expected to endorse a proposal that Assad step aside and allow in humanitarian assistance to end a brutal crackdown against opponents.

Assad is apparently confident and sees no reason to step down, however, even as world sanctions against the country tighten and the UN prepares to hear evidence of crimes against humanity committed by members of his regime.

Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of the Russian parliament, said after meeting in Damascus with Assad that the president showed no sign of readiness to relinquish power. The Russians and Chinese, who vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the regime's behaviour, aren't attending the Tunis conference.

Emergency debate Tuesday

Pushkov warned the West and Arab nations against formally recognizing the opposition Syrian National Council at the conference in Tunisia, saying it would send a wrong signal and trigger a new wave of confrontation.

In Brussels, a diplomat said EU leaders meeting next week in Brussels will ban flights by all Syrian cargo carriers. As well, seven more government officials will have their assets frozen and be banned from travelling to the European Union.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has scheduled what it calls an emergency debate for Tuesday on human rights violations in Syria.

Laura Dupuy Lasserre, president of the human rights forum, told reporters in Geneva that the meeting will hear from the panel of UN rights experts who published a report Thursday concluding that Syrian government officials were responsible for "crimes against humanity" committed by security forces against opposition members.

The panel said it has compiled a list of top-level Syrian officials, including military and government people, who it said could face prosecution over the atrocities.

Kofi Annan to be special envoy

The names on the list will not be made public, however, panel chief Paulo Pinheira told CBC News in an interview Thursday.

On Thursday, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan was appointed the joint United Nations-Arab League envoy on the Syrian crisis, with a mandate to bring an end to the violence and promote a peaceful political solution.

The announcement said Annan will work on bringing an end to "all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis."

The UN says at least 5,400 people have been killed in Syria since March, and activists say the number is continuing to rise with government shelling of areas such as Homs.

With files from The Associated Press