SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying army units
"confronted armed terrorist groups" trying to get into the Khaldiya
neighborhood north of the besieged rebel area in the Old City in the
heart of Homs this week.
Thirty-seven rebels were killed by the army, SANA said, without
giving a figure for losses among Assad's forces.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 45 rebels were
surrounded and killed as they left the old city on Wednesday night
and Thursday morning.
The Britain-based Observatory, which monitors the violence in Syria
through a network of military and medical sources, said it had no
information on government losses.
Assad's forces have surrounded rebels for more than a year in Homs,
a center of the uprising against Assad in 2011 which turned into an
armed uprising and civil war after the Syrian leader's forces
cracked down on protesters.
They have also pushed back rebel forces from nearby rural areas
which had formed part of their supply lines from neighboring Lebanon
and allowed the rebels to challenge control of the main highway
linking Damascus to Homs, the Mediterranean coast and the north of
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Assad has lost control of large areas of northern and eastern Syria,
but deadly infighting among rebel forces has stalled their military
campaign to overthrow him.
Hundreds of rebels have been killed in a week of fighting by an
array of Islamist and more moderate fighters against an al Qaeda
affiliate in Syria, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The fighting comes less than a fortnight before planned peace talks
in Switzerland aimed at finding a political solution to almost three
years of conflict, which the Observatory says has killed 130,000
people, and agreeing a transitional body to govern Syria.
(Reporting by Dominic Evans, editing by Elizabeth Piper)
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