Opposition forces in Syria said they killed at least 50 government troops when they blew up a hotel in the city of Aleppo Thursday, while in the central city of Homs the last rebels prepared to leave the besieged Old City under a deal with the government.
Amateur video showed an enormous mushroom cloud rising into the sky over Syria\’s largest city of Aleppo after a blast leveled the Carlton Hotel, shattering windows and scattering debris for hundreds of meters. Explosives placed in a tunnel under the building destroyed the 150 year old Ottoman structure.
Syrian government forces have retaken control of the Old City of Homs after the evacuation of rebel troops.
State television declared on Thursday that the Old City was "totally clean of armed terrorist groups" but officials later confirmed that the evacuation was not fully over.
Earlier, Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi said more than 1,500 fighters and their relatives had left since Wednesday.
The evacuation marks the end of three years of resistance in Homs.
Syria\’s third city was once dubbed the "capital of the revolution".
An explosion in a tunnel under a government military base earlier this week killed dozens of Syrian soldiers near the town of Ma\’arat al Na\’aman in Idlib province. Opposition activists say it took rebel insurgents over 50 days to dig that tunnel.
More than 150,000 people have been killed and another 2.6 million have fled the country since Syria\’s civil war began in March 2011.
The conflict started with mass street protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and turned into an insurgency after a violent crackdown on demonstrators.