BEIRUT - Syrian troops killed at least 31 people and insurgents killed six soldiers on Tuesday, opposition activists said, on the day Syrian President Bashar Assad was to withdraw his forces 48 hours ahead of the first ceasefire of the 13-month-old conflict.
Activists said 26 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the city of Homs in Syrian army bombardment of the Bayada and Khalidiya districts of the city of Homs.
"They are attacking Bayada with mortars from three different locations. People have taken refuge in some schools and now some of the schools were hit," said an activist calling himself Abu Yasser.
"We have at least 20 martyrs and 70 wounded, most of them women and children," he told Reuters by telephone.
An earlier report from activists said six people were killed by army shelling in the Homs district of Khalidiya. Four were identified by residents in a field hospital, but two were disfigured beyond recognition by wounds.
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