Syrian rebels say they face 7,000 government troops

By REUTERS
March 1, 2012 03:25




AMMAN - Syrian rebels defending the besieged Baba Amro district of the city of Homs reported further fighting overnight and said they faced at least 7,000 troops loyal to President Bashar Assad.

A senior official of the rebel Free Syrian Army, Mohaimen al-Rumaid, told Reuters on Thursday that opposition forces elsewhere in Syria had been ordered to step up the fight against government forces to relieve pressure on Homs, which has been under sustained artillery and rocket bombardment for 26 days.

Diplomats said earlier that the feared 4th Armoured Division was mounting a drive to "finish off" the rebels in Baba Amro.

The 4th Armored Division commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president's younger brother, has won a reputation for ruthlessness during the past year of revolt against the government.

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