DAMASCUS  - Russia's foreign minister said after talks in Damascus on Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad was "fully committed" to ending the bloodshed in Syria even as regime tanks pounded the city of Homs for a fourth straight day.Sergei Lavrov said he had had a "very useful" meeting with Assad and that Moscow was eager to work towards a solution based on an Arab League plan that it had previously criticised."We (Russia) confirmed our readiness to act for a rapid solution to the crisis based on the plan put forward by the Arab League," said Lavrov, adding that Syria was also ready to see an enlarged Arab League mission in the country, Russian news agencies said.The pan-Arab bloc deployed an observer mission to Syria in December to oversee a plan to end bloodshed that has now lasted almost 11 months but suspended it late January after the mission's chief said the violence had reached a new pitch of intensity.The 22-nation League has since put forward a plan for Assad to hand his powers to Vice President Faruq al-Shara and a national unity government to oversee the preparation of democratic elections.Lavrov gave no indication in his comments about Assad's political future but said without elaborating that he believed the Syrian regime had heard Moscow's message."We have every reason to believe that the signal that we've brought here to move along in a more active manner along all directions has been heard."Lavrov said Syria was pressing ahead with the slow-moving reform programme promised by Assad in a series of speeches last year and would soon announce the timetable for a referendum on a new constitution to replace the current one which enshrines the dominant role of his Baath party.Meanwhile, at least 21 civilians and four soldiers were killed in violence across Syria, the majority of them in the flashpoint central city of Homs, activists said."At least nine civilians, including a woman, were killed by gunfire and shelling as (troops) attempt an assault on the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood of the city," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.The Britain-based group said four Syrian troops were killed in the assault on Khaldiyeh, while six other civilians were killed in shelling of the Baba Amr neighbourhood.Elsewhere, five civilians were killed in clashes in Zabadani, located near the capital Damascus and the Lebanese border.Clashes were also reported in Hula, in Homs province, where a 15-year-old boy was reported killed.