Syrian authorities blame 'terrorist gangs'
Damascus - Syrian authorities on Monday said armed "terrorist gangs" were behind the latest violence in Homs, where activists accused government forces of launching a fierce assault on the flashpoint city.
State television said the alleged gangs had been planting bombs which exploded while they were being primed, killing many of the "terrorists".
The opposition accused the government of launching a fierce assault on Homs, with at least 17 civilians killed and dozens wounded in heavy shelling.
The television said one explosion occurred in the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood of Homs and that two bombs went off in Dablan neighbourhood.
It added that "terrorist gangs" were also attacking citizens and security forces in various districts of the city.
"The security forces are pursuing the terrorists and clashing with them," it said.
The official news agency SANA said "terrorist gangs" were also shelling the Baba Amro neighbourhood of Homs and that armed men were deploying in other neighbourhoods.
It also accused armed gangs of attacking public and private buildings in the town of Zabadani, near the capital Damascus.
SANA added that in the northwestern town of Idlib, three civilians were shot and wounded by "terrorists" who, it said were also attacking civilians and robbing homes in the nearby town of Maaret al-Numan.