People gather around wreckage and damage after a car bomb at the Wadi al-Thahb neighborhood in Homs city June 24, 2014, in this picture provided by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA
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Syrian rebels and government forces began observing a 10-day truce Thursday in the last rebel-held area of the central city of Homs, marking another setback for opposition fighters, activists said.Government forces had blockaded Waar for some 20 months, only sporadically allowing in food. "They want to prevent Syrian forces from targeting the al-Waar area with military action, so it won't be like the Old City of Homs, where in the end, negotiations and diplomacy solved the problem," Al-Tilawi said.He said the rebels may end up surrendering the area over to government forces or remain there under a more lasting deal. Western diplomats and local officials have championed local truces as a way of easing the suffering caused by Syria's four-year conflict, which the U.N. estimates has killed some 220,000 people. Western-backed rebels have been retreating in northern Syria for months, caught between government forces on one side and jihadi groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front on the other.
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