File - A Syrian flag flutters outside a military barrack in the devastated Baba Amr neighbourhood of the central restive city of Homs on May 2, 2012.(AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID)
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The regime struck back with a brutal crackdown, jailing thousands, opening fire on demonstrations and eventually pushing the country into a full-scale war, with troops shelling rebel neighborhoods for weeks or months at a time.Small pockets of rebels in Homs fear they could be driven out of the strategic city, with regime forces tightening a 20-month siege and advancing elsewhere in the country.The rebels still view the city as the symbolic heart of the revolution, and are determined not to let the regime reap a propaganda victory.Activists reminisce about the start of the revolt in 2011 as a time of spontaneous, peaceful action led by young people, as well a regime onslaught in February 2012 against the Bab Amr neighborhood, which killed hundreds of people and hastened the militarization of the uprising.
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