Syrian army assault on Homs — Baba Amr will be ‘cleaned’

The Associated Press reports: Syrian troops advanced Wednesday on a key rebel-held area in the central city of Homs, where three Western journalists are among 100,000 residents trapped by a government assault that has raged for weeks. The forces appeared to be starting a ground operation to retake the area that has become a symbol of the uprising to oust President Bashar Assad.

Government forces have been heavily shelling Homs, and particularly the rebel-controlled Baba Amr neighborhood, for more than three weeks with tanks, artillery and rockets. The announcement by a Syrian official of the new troop advance indicated a ground assault was beginning to recapture Baba Amr, home to about 100,000 people.

A Syrian official vowed Baba Amr would be “cleaned” within hours. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Homs, Syria’s third-largest city with a population of about 1 million, has become the major center of both anti-government resistance and reprisal, fueled in part by increasingly bold army defectors who want to bring down Assad’s autocratic regime by force. The U.N. warned Tuesday that Syria’s conflict looks increasingly like a civil war.

Four Western journalists — two of them wounded — had been trapped in Baba Amr since last week, when two other foreign reporters were killed there by a government attack. On Tuesday, Syrian rebels smuggled out Paul Conroy, one of the four journalists, and whisked him safely across the border into Lebanon. Activists said 13 Syrians involved in the rescue operation were killed during it.

Activists said regime forces discovered a nearly 1.5 mile-long tunnel that was used by activists to smuggle people, food and medicine into Baba Amr. The activists said it was not clear whether the regime would blow it up.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said electricity has been cut on the rebel-held Homs neighborhoods of Bayadah and Khaldiyeh and the military redeployed some forces in what could be preparation for an attack on those areas as well.

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3 thoughts on “Syrian army assault on Homs — Baba Amr will be ‘cleaned’

  1. Osama

    what next for the opposition – they have poured (along with the US/NATO/GCC) all their hopes on using Homs as the poster-child of their “revolution”?

    Will this break the back of the opposition, or become another Hama circa 1982? dispersing them and throwing them into disarray (and buying considerable breathing space for the Syrian regime). Potentially allowing it to go on the “offensive” against its regional rivals? the stakes are high.

  2. Awal

    This news obviously depicts how one-sided your reports can be. For example, trying to paint the picture as if the government deliberately killed those journalists. Again, tunnel that was used to smuggle arms, is now tunnel for food and medicine, thanks to your report. Try as much as possible to be neutral in your subsequent reports. Do it for mankind, do it for us(your readers) and not for the obvious diabolic objectives of your government. Thank you.

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