Syrian Threatens to 'Cleanse' Homs

    In this Thursday Feb. 23, 2012 photo, Syrian rebels stand in front of the remains of a burnt military vehicle belonging to Syrian government forces destroyed by Syrian rebels during clashes at Khaldiyeh neighborhood in Homs province, Syria. Syrians began voting Sunday on a new draft constitution aimed at quelling the country's uprising by ending the ruling Baath Party's five-decade domination of power, but the opposition announced a boycott and clashes were reported across the country. In regions like the restive central city of Homs, where shelling by government forces has left hundreds dead, or the northwestern province of Idlib and the southern region of Daraa where rebels clash frequently with the security forces, turnout is likely to be minimal. (AP Photo)

    AP Photos

    Syrian government forces announced Wednesday that they are beginning a ground assault on the rebel-held Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, the city where violence against resisters has been most pronounced. The government vowed to "cleanse" the district within a few hours. Western journalists and 100,000 residents have been trapped in the area by three weeks of nearly ceaseless government shelling. British photographer Paul Conroy was smuggled out of the neighborhood yesterday, but two French journalists, including the injured Edith Bouvier, remain trapped.

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