Syrian forces attack rebel-held areas of Homs, Deraa, Damacus

BEIRUT - Syrian warplanes bombarded a besieged rebel-held district of Homs, southern Deraa and insurgent areas in Damascus's outskirts on Saturday in what appeared to be intensifying assaults in the west of the country, monitors said.
Much of western Syria is covered by an ongoing but shaky ceasefire between the government and rebels that took effect on Dec. 30, but fighting has rumbled on, with warring sides accusing each other of truce violations as peace talks loom in Geneva next week.
On Damascus's northeastern outskirts, Syrian government forces attacked the rebel-held Qaboun and Barzeh districts with rockets and shells and killed at least nine people, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
A Reuters witness heard the sounds of heavy bombardment coming from the area. There was no immediate comment from the government side.
To the north, Syrian jets bombarded the last rebel-held district of Homs, al-Waer, killing at least two people and raising the death toll from nearly two weeks of air strikes there to more than 20, an activist and the Observatory said.
A military media unit run by Damascus's ally Hezbollah said insurgents in al-Waer had been attacked by warplanes and artillery after rebel sniper fire hit neighboring areas.
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