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North Homs rebels struggle to hold gains

August 27, 2014 By Brent Eng and Osama Abu Zeid […]

27 August 2014

August 27, 2014

By Brent Eng and Osama Abu Zeid

AMMAN: Government forces bombed the opposition-controlled town of Taldou in the northeastern Homs countryside Tuesday, killing at least five as they intensified their attack on one of the last FSA strongholds in the area, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Taldou is the largest of a group of pro-FSA towns in the Hulwa Valley, located just 20 kilometers northeast of the provincial capital directly on the road to the pro-regime western coast.

The residents of Taldou have faced a severe water shortage since the regime erected a series of barriers around the town, effectively cutting them off from access to water. While the other towns in the valley are also besieged, Taldou has borne the brunt of the regime’s attack.

The bombing, and the fighting that followed, made the day the “most violent” yet since the regime began escalating its attack on Taldou a week ago, a local activist told Syria Direct Wednesday.

“The rebels struck the barriers around the water facilities and destroyed a tank stationed inside with missile fire,” said an activist who asked to be identified only as Firas.

Homs-Fighter1 FSA fends off regime siege in Taldou. Photo coutesy of Syria Mobasher.

“The rebels are also targeting a number of pro-government villages around Taldou with mortar.”

Meanwhile, pro-regime news agency the General Agency of Radio and TV in Syria said Monday that army units had targeted “terrorists and their hideouts in Taldou” earlier that day.

The regime seeks to capture Taldou because of its close proximity to a military base in northeast Homs city and because of its location on the road of one of two major highways from Homs going from east to west.

Of those two roads, the government prefers the highway that runs through Taldou both because it is a shorter route and because it runs through the town of Masyaf, from where the regime launches many of its military attacks in the area.

Taldou is also situated directly east of a series of pro-regime Alawite towns that the government is attempting to protect.

On Wednesday, a number of FSA commanders in Taldou were reportedly killed, according to Hama News Network, an activist-run pro-regime social media page. The reports could not be independently verified.

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