Troops enter key rebel district of Homs | Pakistan Today

Troops enter key rebel district of Homs

Syrian troops entered the rebel district of Khaldiyeh in the besieged central city of Homs on Tuesday, state television said.
“Our valiant armed forces have secured large parts of Khaldiyeh district and are now pursuing the remnants of the terrorists,” the channel announced, using government terminology for the rebels.
An activist in the embattled city confirmed that the army had “stormed part of Khaldiyeh.”
“The catastrophe is that there are 800 families trapped in Homs. It will be an unprecedented massacre if they take over the district,” Abu Bilal told AFP via Skype.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the rebels and army are fighting on the outskirts of Khaldiyeh, but troops have not broken through into the district.
A security official told AFP on Monday that the army hoped to eliminate the last pockets of resistance in Homs and the nearby town of Qusayr by the end of the week to free up troops for battle zones in the north, such as Aleppo.
The government deployed fighter jets over Homs for the first time on Friday, bombing Khaldiyeh, the Britain-based Observatory said.
Khaldiyeh and the Old City have been in rebel hands — and under a total army siege — for more than four months, according to activists and monitoring groups. Homs province has suffered some of the worst violence in all of Syria since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt in March last year, as the army has staged multiple attempts to reclaim rebel areas, mostly to no avail. It holds key strategic significance to both the rebels – who have used ties to sympathisers with the revolt in northern Lebanon to smuggle supplies in and the wounded out — and to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

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