07/08/2013, 00.00
SYRIA
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Assad's army set to reconquer Homs

About 70 per cent of rebel-held areas have been destroyed. According to Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the ground and air offensive against Homs, the country's third largest city and a symbol of rebellion since March 2011, continues.

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) - On the tenth day of the regime's offensive in Homs, at least two-thirds of rebel-held areas is destroyed, this according to Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who added "Of all Syria's cities, Homs has suffered the highest levels of destruction . . . . Images of Homs make it look like a world war has hit the city,"

With a population of around 800,000, Homs is Syria's third largest city. Located 140 km north of Damascus, it is situated at a central strategic crossing.

 State media and anti-government sources agree that, following recent attacks, the regular army controls much of the districts of Khaldiyeh and Bab Hud, as well as numerous buildings in the city centre.

For many activists, the regime is engaged in its most violent offensive since hostilities broke out in 2011.

"We are staring at a real humanitarian disaster in Homs. Assad, whose military machine was on the verge of defeat, became propped up by Iran and its Hezbollah proxy," Syrian National Council (SNC) head Assi Jarba said.

Jarba, who offered Assad's forces a truce for the duration of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins on Tuesday, was elected on Saturday to lead the SNC, replacing Moaz al-Khatib. He won by three votes with Saudi backing, over Mustafa al-Sabbagh, considered close to Qatar.

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