Syrian army kills 52 in Homs


President Bashar al-Assad's forces recaptured a town in western Syria in clashes that brought urgency to a warning by UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi that the war is spiralling into "hell" and giving rise to warlords.

The Syrian army killed 52 people today, including 17 in Damascus and its suburbs, the Local Coordination Committees said in an email, a day after Al Jazeera reported government troops had seized Deir Balbah near Homs, the latest front in a battle that's seen entire towns cross from government to rebel control.

More than 44,000 people have been killed in 22 months of violence that's pitted the mainly Sunni Muslim opposition against Assad's Alawite-dominated security forces.

"The situation is bad and it's getting worse," Mr Brahimi said in Cairo today.

"I can't see anything other than these two paths: either there will be a political solution that will meet the ambitions and legitimate rights of the Syrian people, or Syria will turn into hell."

The fighting came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Assad had told Brahimi that he won't quit before his term ends in 2014.

Syrian forces today attacked the Hom's area of Khalidiya with mortars, while jets bombed towns outside of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.

Rebel forces shot down a helicopter in Idlib province, while in Aleppo the army battled Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist group by the US, outside an arms factory, the group said.


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