The news media is rife with reports accusing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces of killing at least 67 civilians in the rebel stronghold of Homs.

The reports are the latest claims charging Assad’s soldiers and militiamen engaged in wholesale atrocities against unarmed civilians.

The vast majority of reports rely on claims by local, unnamed activists.

Many English-language news reports of recent events in Syria reviewed by WND fail to quote the Syrian side, which claims armed terrorists, including Islamists, provoked Syrian forces and drew fire into civilian zones.

Syria also says the terrorists are behind the killing of civilians.

Scores of U.S. and international news reports in recent months reviewed by WND almost uniformly fail to report the number of troops Syria claims are killed in the battles, painting a one-sided picture of Syrian soldiers firing into civilian zones instead of the possibility Syria is fighting a well-armed insurgency.

An example was yesterday’s claims that Syrian forces thrusting into Homs and killed at least 67 civilians, including three families in their homes reportedly by militiaman loyal to Assad.

Syria, however, widely disputed the number and claimed “armed terrorists” were behind civilian deaths.

Syria’s SANA English-language government news website reported an “armed terrorist group” yesterday detonated a booby-trapped car in al-Bayyada neighborhood in Homs, causing the deaths and injuries of a number of civilians and law-enforcement members.

Syria accused the terrorists of shelling civilian zones yesterday as well as setting two fuel tanks ablaze.

SANA claimed “the armed groups shoot at citizens, break off roads, attack public and private facilities.”

Syria claimed its forces yesterday dismantled a number of explosives planted by the “armed terrorist groups” on several passenger roads while the jihadists kidnapped a number of citizens at Tseil Village in Daraa who were later released by Syrian forces.

SANA claimed armed terrorist groups burglarized a number of houses in al-Khalidiyyeh, al-Bayyada and al-Nazihin neighborhoods in Homs.

Missing in many of the recent news media reports are the almost daily claims by Syria that a number of troops, at times about a dozen per day or more, are killed in battle with the purported armed groups.

On Monday, for example, Syria listed the names of 13 troops it said were killed in battle one day earlier.

SANA said funerals had been conducted on Tuesday for 30 more members of the security forces.

Last Saturday, Syria disputed claims that Assad’s forces massacred more than 200 civilians in Homs.

A Syrian official told WND an “armed terrorist group” first attacked a security post in Palmyra, in the Homs countryside.

Also the Syrian official accused the purported terrorist group of targeting civilians, saying Syrian forces found and dismantled several explosive devices placed in civilian locations in and near Homs.

This routine was confirmed by a leaked Arab League report.

The report, posted by the Anonymous group, says Arab League monitors several times witnessed an “armed entity” provoking Syrian forces and placing civilian lives in danger.

That section of the classified report reads: “The Mission determined that there is an armed entity that is not mentioned in the protocol. … In some zones, this armed entity reacted by attacking Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the Government to respond with further violence. In the end, innocent citizens pay the price for those actions with life and limb.”

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