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Syrian forces took full control on Thursday over the Old City of Homs, a city once associated with scenes of joyous pro-democracy crowds but now famed for images of ruin that epitomize the brutality of the 3-year-old civil war.Although the area had been cleared of insurgents, the army is not expected to move into the Old City until Friday when it will be checked for explosives.Barazi told state media that 70 people abducted by rebels were released, including five children and 17 women.The Islamic Front, Syria's biggest rebel alliance which claimed the attack, declared killing 50 soldiers.The Syrian government does not publicize its casualties in the civil war.Earlier, the U.S. stepped up its pressure on Damascus, sanctioning six Syrian officials and a Russian bank for their alleged support of the government.To date, the United States has imposed sanctions on nearly 200 individuals and entities since the onset of unrest in Syria, including the government of Syria, its central bank and affiliated oil companies.
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