July 8 - Syrian troops fight with rebels in Homs in a battle seen as crucial to government attempts to drive a wedge between opposition-held areas. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The battering of Homs. President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been on the offensive in the central Syrian city for ten days, hitting rebel-held neighborhoods with air strikes, mortar bombs and tanks. Little has been spared in a battle seen as crucial to the government's attempts to drive a wedge between opposition-held areas and establish links between the capital and President Bashar al-Assad's coastal strongholds. As the army made gains on the battlefield, Syrian state media announced new leaders in the ruling Baath Party -- a reshuffle seen as an attempt by Assad to put a new face on the organization that has dominated Syrian politics for more than four decades. In Istanbul, the newly elected head of the opposition tells Reuters that the rebels' military position is weak. They propose a truce in Homs for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins Tuesday. So far no signs that the government is ready to accept such an offer. The sounds of war fill empty streets. The video, which could not be independently verified by Reuters shows a war-torn country in ruins where rights groups say more 100,000 people have died.