Assad forces on the offensive from capitol to sea

May 2, 2013 19:18

BEIRUT- Forces loyal to President Bashar Assad retook a central district in the city of Homs on Thursday, driving a wedge between two isolated pockets of rebel resistance in Syria's third largest city, fighters and activists said.

The recapture of Wadi al-Sayeh, which links the besieged rebel stronghold in Khalidiyah to the opposition-held old city, appears to be part of a series of carefully focused counter-offensives that mark a shift from the indiscriminate campaigns earlier in the two-year-old conflict.

Homs is a link in the corridor connecting Assad's Damascus power-base with the traditional Mediterranean heartland of his minority Alawite community.

Following recent gains in rural areas around Homs, Assad's forces surrounded the towns of Baida and Maqreb on the road to the coastal city of Banias on Thursday, activists said, the latest stage in a campaign to secure the corridor.

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