HOMS, Syria, March 4 (UPI) — Opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad said fighting in the central city of Homs escalated Monday, a day after high casualties in battles in Aleppo.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in London, said fighting flared in Homs after government forces launched an offensive, backed by tanks and warplanes, to dislodge rebels.
Successions of “explosions that shook the whole city” and clouds of black smoke were observed, activist Abu Bilal said, and The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, reported “fierce and continuous
shelling from heavy artillery and rocket launchers.”
The clashes in Homs shifted attention from Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, where fighting continued for days around the Khan al-Asal police academy, the New York Times reported Monday.
The Syrian pro-government newspaper al-Watan accused opposition fighters of killing 115 police officers and wounding 50.
The Local Coordination Committees said Sunday the rebel Free Syrian Army “liberated the police academy” and “is now conducting a search of the place.”
Sunday the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 200 government soldiers and rebels died in the fighting in Aleppo. With other fatalities elsewhere, the count for Sunday, it said, stood at 260 dead, including 115 government troops, 104 rebels and 45 civilians.
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