Ignoring Red Cross pleas for a ceasefire, Syrian forces bombarded a rebel-held neighborhood of Homs with heavy artillery, killing at least 100 people and wounding hundreds more, according to activists. Ten children and three women were reportedly among the casualties. The Red Cross is trying to negotiate a pause in the fighting to bring aid to civilians in Homs, who have been under siege for 18 days. In the capital of Damascus, soldiers fired on demonstrators, wounding at least four. The Friends of Syria contact group, consisting of Western powers and the Arab League, meets on Friday to discuss the situation. China and Russia say they would rather back Bashar al-Assad’s promised reforms.