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Syria: Army Continues Effort To Regain Control Of Homs


Syrian regime forces tightened the noose around the rebel city of Homs, determined to crush the resistance, activists said Wednesday.

“Since dawn, to the bombings and rocket mortars have been extremely intense,” said Omar Shakir, an opposition activist. He said the bombings are intended to pave the way for a ground assault in Homs, considered “the capital of the revolution.” The main bombings took place in the mostly Sunni neighborhood of Baba Amr. Electricity and communications are cut, said the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. In Bab Amr, the military has “destroyed all the infrastructure, bombed water tanks and power poles,” said Mr. Shakir, estimating that 40% of buildings in this neighborhood were affected. The neighborhoods of Khaldiye, Karm al-Zeitoune and Wadi Bayada are also affected. “The humanitarian situation is terrible and the food is running out,” added Mr. Shakir.

On Wednesday, at least 50 people were killed in Homs, including three entire families, said the Observatory.

Meanwhile, Turkey plans to organize “as soon as possible” an international conference with the regional and international actors on the Syrian crisis, said Wednesday its foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.

“We are determined to provide a forum for a broad-based international agreement with countries that are concerned” about the situation in Syria, which borders Turkey, he told the NTV news channel.

Davutoglu said that this conference could be held in Turkey or in another country, but would certainly take place “in the region” and “promptly”.

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to hold talks Wednesday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the Syrian crisis, the minister added.

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