Security personnel and onlookers gathers at the site of a car bomb explosion in al-Ushaq street in Ekremah neighboorhood in Syria’s central city of Homs on April 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO / STR
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DAMASCUS Syrian army troops backed by pro-regime militiamen entered rebel-held neighborhoods of the central city of Homs on Tuesday after laying siege to the districts for nearly two years.The assault follows a UN operation earlier this year that saw some 1,400 people trapped inside the besieged neighbourhoods evacuated, though around 1,300 people, mostly fighters, remained behind. Evacuations from the battered districts began in February, during a UN-supervised humanitarian operation that saw some 1,400 people leave the blockaded rebel areas.Activists said they fear that 400 men, including rebels and draft evaders from besieged Homs who had recently surrendered to the authorities, may be held indefinitely. Today, some 1,300 people, most of them fighters, remain inside the besieged areas of Homs.It remains unclear how Syria's government can stage elections with much of its territory under rebel control and nearly half of its population displaced inside or outside the country by the fighting.
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