Skip to main content

Syrian government reclaims parts of Homs

By Salma Abdelaziz, CNN
updated 1:17 PM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Government troops now have direct access to an opposition stronghold, activists say
  • People in the Old District fear reprisals, the Revolutionary Council of Homs says
  • A government effort to retake Homs was launched in recent weeks

(CNN) -- Syrian troops took control of large swaths of territory in the flashpoint city of Homs Thursday, encircling an opposition suburb, an activist group said.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces retook the Wadi al-Sayah neighborhood, giving the troops direct access to the Old District of Homs, an opposition stronghold, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"Rebels in Wadi al-Sayah are fighting to stop the government troops from entering the Old District of Homs and are helping 200 families flee the area toward the Old District, "activist Abu Bilal told CNN.

Eight hundred families and nearly 500 wounded people in the Old District now fear for their lives and many worry they will become victims of reprisal attacks and even sectarian killings, the Revolutionary Council of Homs said.

Report: 13 injured in stampede at Turkey-Syria border crossing

Central Damascus hit by bombs
Damascus bombing spurs anger at U.S.
How red must the red line be in Syria?

"The suburbs of Homs today are under a greater threat than ever before," the statement added, "Every decision maker and leader capable of helping us will be judged by God, people, and history,"

A bastion of resistance against the regime, the Old District of Homs supports the campaign by rebels to overthrow the government and often provides material support to the fighters of the Free Syria Army.

"The families in Old Homs feel disappointed in everyone and the opposition, but they remain steadfast in their resilience and will not flee." Abu Bilal said.

In recent weeks, government forces launched an offensive to regain Homs, the country's third largest city, where the opposition has been in control of central districts for more than a year. The fighting put many civilians under the threat of constant bombardment and a suffocating siege with limited access to food staples, electricity and water.

For Syria, chemical weapons also a 'red line,' information minister says

Syrian troops destroyed an explosive device warehouse and killed and injured a number of terrorists in Homs, state media reported Thursday. The government refers to opposition forces as terrorists.

CNN is unable to independently confirm reports of casualties in Syria because access by international media is heavily restricted.

Homs became a symbol of the uprising against the Assad government as massive street protests against the authoritarian regime were staged in 2011, and it later became the site of a relentless assault by the Syrian government that the opposition said was aimed at destroying a nascent rebel fighting force at the expense of the civilian population.

The government claims its troops are eliminating terrorist groups that have infiltrated Homs, and it seeks to protect the civilian population from acts of violence and weed out arms obtained illegally by radicals.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Aqsa Mahmood,19, would listen to Coldplay and read Harry Potter books. Then this Glasgow girl became an ISIS bride.
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The little boy looks barely old enough to walk, let alone understand the dark world he's now inhabiting.
updated 12:22 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
ISIS has released video of the aftermath of a mass execution. Another video shows alleged captured Peshmerga soldiers.
updated 5:33 AM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
The number of people who have fled Syria and registered as refugees amid the country's civil war will surpass 3 million Friday.
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, grew up in the Minneapolis area, but died more than 6,000 miles away in Syria, fighting for ISIS.
updated 4:54 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must, somehow, go through Syria.
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
updated 7:41 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
updated 4:25 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Sat September 20, 2014
More than 100,000 people reportedly have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising in 2011 spiraled into a civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT