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Syria: Government forces take control of rebel stronghold

Government forces are renewing efforts to take control of the Homs district in Syria on Saturday.

March 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Government forces are renewing efforts to take control of the Homs district in Syria on Saturday. The government has been bombarding the area for the past month, killing hundreds of people.

Thousands more are without power, food or water. So far, aid workers and medical supplies have been blocked from entering the area. The Red Cross pressed forward with efforts to deliver badly needed aid to people stranded in a besieged neighborhood, despite warnings from regime troops of land mines and booby traps.

Syrian forces took control of the rebel stronghold of Baba Amr on Thursday, the country's third largest city with about 1 million people, after rebels fled the district. The city has become a symbol of the nearly year-old uprising against President Bashar Assad's authoritarian rule.

Conditions in Baba Amr are believed to be dire, with extended power outages, shortages of food and water, and lack of medical care. A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals said the district has been without water and heating fuel for a week amid freezing temperatures and snow.

There was no immediate word on what was going on in Baba Amr on Saturday, a day after activists accused regime forces of execution-style killings and a campaign of burning homes, raising fears of revenge attacks in a country on the verge of civil war. Telephone and Internet lines were still down and activists in nearby areas said they had no information from inside.

The government says it's trying to "cleanse" neighborhoods of rebels. The revolt has killed more than 7,500 people, according to the U.N.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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