Syrian army controls 60% of Homs key district

Syrian army controls 60% of Homs key district
Sun Jul 28, 2013 18:40:27

The Syrian army has gained ground in the key Khalidiya district in Homs after ousting foreign-backed militants in fierce clashes in the flashpoint city, a watchdog says.

Army forces now control "60 percent of Khalidiya," the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday, and also captured the Khaled bin Walid mosque.

State television quoted a military source as saying that army forces were in control of all the area around the mosque.

Syria's official press said the army was now back in control of most of Khalidiya.

The latest army offensive on besieged militant-held neighborhoods of Homs is now in its fourth week.

Government forces are seeking to secure another victory like the one in Qusayr near the border with Lebanon in June, when Hezbollah was key in retaking the strategic town.

The 28-month-old civil war in Syria has killed a total of more than 100,000 people and left more than a million refugees, without any peace settlement in sight.

In New York, a UN spokeswoman said the world body's chief Ban Ki-moon is to review an accord struck with Syria on investigating the use of chemical weapons before any details are announced.

Ban will meet in New York on Monday with the two envoys who struck the accord, spokeswoman Morana Song told AFP.

The United Nations and Syrian government announced in a joint statement issued late Friday that an accord had been reached "on the way forward" in the investigation, following a Damascus visit this week by two UN envoys.

The conflict in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

HH/HH

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