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Regime forces besiege Homs, 69 killed across Syria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BEIRUT, (AFP) — Troops pounded besieged districts of the central city of Homs as four people were killed across Syria on Sunday, a day after violence cost 69 lives, a watchdog reported.

A civilian was killed in the rebel stronghold of Khalidiyeh, which, like other parts of Homs, was “being shelled and shot at by regime forces who have been trying to enter these districts for several days,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Speaking to AFP via Skype from the Old City neighbourhood of Homs, activist Abu Bilal said the regime siege of several parts of the city was “suffocating.”

“They are shelling us all the time. There’s very little food and water, and we’re running out of medication.”

Abu Bilal reiterated fears expressed by the opposition and rights watchdogs on Saturday that, should regime forces enter the besieged districts, people trapped there “will be massacred.”

He added that dozens of civilians in the Old City, in central Homs, were wounded, “and many of them will die if they don’t get treatment as we can’t get any of the injured out.”

Among those killed on Saturday was a civilian shot dead by a sniper at Khan Sheikhun in the northwestern province of Idlib, the Observatory said.

In the northern province of Aleppo, regime forces shelled Abyan village, killing one man, the monitoring group said, while another civilian was gunned down in Damascus province, scene of night-time clashes.

According to activist network the Local Coordination Committees, “violent shelling” of Babka village in Aleppo province led “residents to panic, and to flee.”

In Aleppo city, “a strike was held in solidarity with the suburbs,” activists said, adding that “revolutionary graffiti” covered walls and shop facades.

Troops and rebels clashed in Mliha village in Damascus province overnight, the Observatory said.

Forces loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad also shelled the rebel bastion of Douma on the outskirts of the capital, for the fourth day in a row.

The Observatory said on Saturday that more than 1,000 families were trapped in Homs, adding that there was a lack of medical staff and equipment.

Home to several rebel hideouts, Homs has been under intermittent attack by regime forces ever since its Baba Amr neighbourhood was relentlessly pounded for a month earlier this year and retaken by the regime.

Sixty-nine people were killed across the country on Saturday — 51 civilians, 16 troops and two rebels — according to the Observatory which says more than 14,400 people have died in the 15-month uprising, most of them civilians.