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Air strikes shake Syria city of Homs

Source BBC News@

A view of buildings damaged by what activists say was shelling by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the Khalidiya neighbourhood of Homs on FridayThe Khalidiya district of Homs is showing the scars of shelling on Friday and Saturday

Syrian war planes and ground forces have struck at rebel-held districts of the city of Homs, say activists.

Aircraft, tanks and mortar units attacked districts including Khalidiya and Jouret al-Shiya, they said.

Saturday was "one of the most violent days that Homs has witnessed since the beginning of the revolution," an activist told AP news agency.

The tide of Syria's civil war has been turning against anti-government rebels in recent week, say correspondents.

Building on their recapture earlier this month of the strategic town of Qusair - near Homs and the Lebanon border - the forces of President Bashar al-Assad have taken villages nearby and launched fresh offensives on Homs, an important centre of rebel resistance.

However, in recent days rebels are also reported to have made gains in fighting in the southern city of Deraa. On Friday rebels claimed to have captured a major army checkpoint from which it controlled one of the main roads into the city centre.

'Great success'

In the Khalidiya and nearby Old City districts of Homs, shelling had been continuous since 10:00 (07:00 GMT), activist Tariq Bardakhan told AP on Saturday afternoon.


It followed reported shelling in Khalidiya on Friday.

Unverifiable videos uploaded on to the internet showed plumes of smoke rising as violent explosions shook parts of the city.

Syrian state TV was quoted as saying the army had had "great success" in the battle for Homs, "killing many terrorists in the Khalidiya district".

Two civilians had died, the UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on its Facebook page.

It said violent clashes were taking place around the historic Khalid Ibn al-Walid mosque in Khalidiya, which had earlier caught fire.

Gains in parts of provincial Homs have consolidated the government's control over a key corridor of Syrian territory linking the capital Damascus with the homelands of President Assad's minority Alawite sect in mountains close to the Mediterranean.

The UN says more than 90,000 people have been killed in Syria - with a further 1.7m forced to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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