BEIRUT - Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Assad killed dozens of rebel fighters who tried to break an army siege of the central city of Homs, state media and a monitoring group said.

SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying army units "confronted armed terrorist groups" trying to get into the Khaldiya neighbourhood north of the besieged rebel area in the Old City in the heart of Homs this week.

Thirty-seven rebels were killed by the army, SANA said, without giving a figure for losses among Assad's forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 45 rebels were surrounded and killed as they left the old city on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

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