Regime air raids intensify in Syria's Homs, prayers cancelled

BEIRUT - Syrian government air strikes hit rebel-held areas north of the city of Homs for a second day, forcing authorities to cancel Friday prayers for the first time in six months, monitors and a doctor there said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said a number of raids hit the town of Rastan in the north of the province and other towns and villages nearby, and barrel bombs had been dropped from helicopters in the past 24 hours.
The bombardments came after the United Nations started a new round of peace talks in Geneva, and as surging fighting in Aleppo challenged a fragile cessation of hostilities deal agreed in February.
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