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Meantime, Homs retains considerable strategic importance as a key stop on the route north from Damascus, the capital, to Aleppo, the onetime commercial hub that has been split between rebel and government control for more than a year.
The loss of Khalidiya was clearly a blow for the rebels, who had controlled the district for most of the last two years. Several other Old City areas remain under nominal rebel sway. But the army appears determined to crush pockets of opposition in this war-weary city, Syria's third-most populous.