Photos: The destruction of Homs

The province of Homs is Syria’s largest, and runs from the Lebanese frontier in the west all the way to the border with Iraq and Jordan in the east. The city of Homs holds strategic value because it serves as a crossroads: the main highway from Damascus to the north as well as the coastal region, which is a stronghold of President Bashar Assad’s Alawite sect, runs through Homs.

Khaldiyeh had a population of about 80,000 but only some 2,000 remain there today as residents fled the violence, activists say. The heavy fighting over the past two years has caused extensive damage, with some buildings reduced to rubble.