NGO: at least 45 Syrian rebels killed in Homs fighting

Smoke rises from a burning building which caught fire after it was hit by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at the besieged area of Homs January 9, 2014. (Reuters)

Loyalist forces have killed at least 45 Syrian rebels as they sought to break a regime siege on part of Homs, in central Syria, an NGO said on Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels, from different brigades, were killed late Wednesday and early Thursday as they attempted to end an army siege that has lasted more than a year.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the number of dead could be higher.

"They were killed as they tried to launch an operation to end the siege of Homs; they were ambushed by regime forces near the Khaldiya neighbourhood, which is under government control," he told AFP.

Several thousand civilians are reportedly trapped by the siege, which has been imposed on rebel-held areas of Homs's Old City.

In October, activists warned of severe food and energy shortages in the besieged areas and reported that residents were malnourished.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:52 - GMT 10:52