DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syrian security forces shot dead 11 people in the protest hub of Homs on Wednesday while withdrawing from the flashpoint city of Hama after a 10-day operation, amid growing outrage over the regimes crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Meanwhile, The United States Wednesday again stopped short of explicitly calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power, but said it would help his people achieve dignity and freedom. Washington further stiffened its stance, after a crackdown on protesters which has killed 2,000 people, by unveiling new sanctions on the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria, the countrys largest commercial bank. Steadily escalating US rhetoric against Assad, including a warning that he is now a source of regional instability, has fueled expectations that the Obama administration will soon formally call for him to go. But the White House Wednesday stuck with a rhetorical formulation towards Syria adopted last week, saying the country would be a better place without Assad and that he had lost legitimacy. The United States also imposed sanctions on Syrias largest commercial bank and largest mobile phone operator, tightening the noose on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The measures came a day after a defiant Assad pledged to pursue a relentless battle against terrorist groups seemingly oblivious to the mounting international pressure against his regime. Security forces fired indiscriminately on residents of the Baba Amro neighbourhood, killing 11 people, one of the activists told AFP in Nicosia by telephone from the central city. They have launched a vast operation, arresting people and searching homes and opening fire on anyone trying to escape, the witnesss said. Meanwhile, an AFP correspondent on a government-sponsored tour said dozens of military vehicles crammed with soldiers streamed out of Hama to which residents were trickling back. The army units have gone back to their barracks after having accomplished their mission, and residents, happy to be rid of the armed gangs who tried to sow discord among the population, have returned home, a high-ranking officer said. That was confirmed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who sent to Hama his ambassador to witness the pullout. Our ambassador went to Hama and said that the tanks, security forces had started to leave Hama. This is highly important to show that our initiatives had positive results, Erdogan said in Ankara. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the critical thing is that Syria should be open to the world for the developments to be followed. The most important tool to end the speculations and debate is free media access. Meanwhile, a military source said troops were also pulling out of one town in the province of Idlib bordering Turkey. The operation aimed to hunt down saboteurs and armed groups at the request of Idlibs residents and troops are now returning to their barracks, after achieving their mission, the source said. The AFP journalist said she saw dozens of soldiers stream out of Ariha in the south of Idlib province. But rights activist Rami Abdel Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said troops were conducting a vast operation in the Idlib town of Sermin, where a woman was killed. A woman was killed and three other people were wounded in the city of Sermin, where Syrian forces launched a broad military campaign on Wednesday morning, he told AFP. Explosions and heavy gunfire also echoed in the eastern oil hub of Deir Ezzor and residents were fearing a new military operations in the city where the army killed 42 people on Sunday and 17 on Tuesday, said Abdel Rahman. Turkey kept up the pressure Wednesday with Davutoglu, who delivered a stern message to Assad on Tuesday, saying Damascus should open up to the world and allow free media access. The authorities have blamed outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups for the violence that has swept Syria since mid-March, while world powers have accused Syria of violently repressing pro-democracy protests. Davutoglus message said Ankara has run out of patience, while Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr warned that Syria was heading to the point of no return. Amr was due in Turkey on Wednesday to discuss Syria, a day after he asked Assad to end the bloodshed and implement democratic reforms. Brazil, India and South Africa have all stepped into the diplomatic fray, dispatching envoys to Damascus to seek a solution to the crisis and end the bloody crackdown that has claimed more than 2,000 lives since mid-March. Briefing them, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem echoed Assad, saying security forces are confronting terrorist groups and stressing Syrias rejection of foreign interference and media provocation. Certain Syrian cities are under the grip of armed terrorist groups ... (and) troops have been deployed to such cities to restore stability and security, he said. Fresh pressure on Syria came Wednesday from the United States which imposed sanctions on the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria, its Lebanon-based subsidiaries and telecoms company Syriatel. The US Treasury said it was taking aim at the financial infrastructure that is helping provide support to Assad and his regimes illicit activities. The move freezes the US assets of the businesses targeted and prohibits US entities from engaging in any business dealings with them, the Treasury said. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen charged that the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria was an agent for designated Syrian and North Korean proliferators. Troops backed by tanks stormed Hama on July 31, the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to fight armed groups, killing 100 people in the single bloodiest day since the crackdown began, activists say. The bloodshed triggered a deluge of international condemnation and prompted the UN Security Council, under pressure from European and US leaders, to issue a statement demanding an end to the violence. Russia backed the statement after refusing along with China to endorse a tougher formal resolution, and has since urged Syria to comply and engage in reform. Since then three Arab countries, including heavyweight Saudi Arabia, have recalled their ambassadors to Damascus for consultations as more Arab voices rose to condemn Syria over its crackdown.