Syrian forces enter Homs district after bombardment

Mon Nov 7, 2011 6:07am EST
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AMMAN (Reuters) - Troops and militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad entered a residential district of Homs after six days of tank bombardment that killed scores of people and wounded hundreds in the hotbed of unrest, residents and activists said on Monday.

Army defectors who had taken refuge in Bab Amro and helped defend the neighborhood, which has seen regular street rallies against Assad's autocratic rule, had withdrawn and loyalist forces moved in overnight, they said.

"They are storming houses now and arresting people, but not many are left in Bab Amro. The shabbiha (pro-Assad militia) have brought pick-up trucks and are looting buildings," Raed Ahmad, one of the activists, said by phone.

Syrian authorities have banned independent media from Homs, making it impossible to verify events on the ground.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Mark Heinrich)