Syria’s army battered the central city of Homs and the nearby town of Qusayr on Thursday after suffering heavy losses at the hands of anti-regime rebel fighters, a watchdog and a journalist said.
Qusayr, a rebel stronghold in the province of Homs, was surrounded by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad who bombarded the town heavily, as helicopters hovered overhead, the journalist in the area said.
The shelling erupted at 7:00 am (0400 GMT), and was followed by fierce clashes with rebel forces concentrated near the town’s main hospital.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that heavy machinegun fire and shelling by the regime forces wounded several civilians in Qusayr, which is situated near the border with Lebanon.
Elsewhere in the country, eight soldiers and a rebel were killed in heavy fighting at Armanaz, in the northwestern province of Idlib, following a rebel attack on an army barracks, according to the Observatory.
In the southern province of Daraa, cradle of a 15-month uprising against the Assad regime, the town of Inkhel was shelled and stormed by troops who then carried out a series of raids, said the Britain-based group.
At least nine people were killed in Inkhel with the death toll likely to rise, it said.
The fresh bloodshed comes a day after violence cost the lives of more than 90 people across Syria, including 53 civilians, 35 soldiers and 10 rebel fighters, according to the Observatory.