Syrian Military Pushes into Rebel-Held Homs, 80 Reported Slain

Civilians Trapped Between Rebel Fighters and Regime Forces

by Jason Ditz, January 25, 2013

Syrian troops have been pushing into the rebel-held areas of the Homs Province in recent days, according to rebel officials, who claimed 80 people were killed in the raid and more than 150 killed since the offensive began Sunday.

The exact split of the slain in very much in doubt, though some rebel factions were claiming as many as 120 civilians were among the dead. Large numbers of civilians are believed to be trapped in the area between the bulk of the rebel force and the oncoming regime troops.

Homs has been hotly contested since the civil war began, and rebels have repeatedly claimed massacres by pro-regime forces, particularly the militia factions loyal to the government.

The offensive is one of the first major regime efforts to retake significant territory that was not directly around the capital city of Damascus in months, and suggests that they may be moving away from their turtling strategy around the capital and are looking to counter-attack against rebels whose gains have spread them thinner and thinner.

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