Syrian regime forces have launched a major assault on the city of Hirak in the southern province of Deraa, the cradle of the anti-regime protest. At the same time, the army laid a siege to a town in the province of Hama, opposition sources reported Tuesday.
"Huge military forces, including tanks stormed the town of Hirak in the province of Deraa. Explosions and gunfire are heard," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Moreover, tanks besieged the town of al-Imam Tibet in the province of Hama."
After taking control of Baba Amr earlier this month, the regime's forces put pressure on other bastions of free Syrian Army, including Rastane (20 km from Homs).
"The regime will try to increase pressure on Rastane. There are preparations to launch an assault because it is clear that the city is not under its control", said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"What happens in Rastane is identical to what happened in Baba Amr: blockade, artillery and rocket launchers," said Hadi Abdullah from the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution. "The fighters of the free Syria army will not give up easily because no one wants a second Baba Amr," he added.
Rastane, bombed since Feb. 5, is located on the highway linking the capital Damascus to the north. Another city in the province of Homs, Qousseir, controlled mostly by rebels, is also under bombings, according to Anas Abu Ali, an official of the free army.
"We will resist (...) it's a matter of life or death, we will resist with all our might. The world failed to help us but we will not give up the revolution," he told AFP.