Syria: 45 rebels dead in fierce Homs clashes
Regime forces have enforced a siege in Homs' Old City for over a year and much of the city has been destroyed in clashes between loyalist troops and rebels. Reports of energy and food shortages in the central Syrian city are rife. (AFP/File)
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed at least 45 Syrian rebels during an offensive on the regime-stronghold of Homs in central Syria, an NGO said Thursday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the rebels, who were all from different brigades, were killed late Wednesday and early Thursday as they attempted to break the regime's control on Homs that has lasted for over a year, Agence France Presse said.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told APF that the number of killed rebels could be higher.
"They were killed as they tried to launch an operation to end the siege of Homs; they were ambushed by regime forces near the Khaldiya neighbourhood, which is under government control," he told AFP.
Several thousand Syrian civilians are said to be trapped in Homs by the siege, which has been imposed on rebel-held areas of the Old City, AFP reported.
Activists on the ground in Homs have repeatedly warned of a humanitiarn crisis in the city, reporting of severe food and energy shortages and that residents are malnourished.
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