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Syria forces assault rebellious towns before truce

BEN HUBBARD Associated Press= BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian artillery pounded the rebellious city of Homs and tanks and troops stormed towns in the north and south on Wednesday, deepening doubts that President Bashar Assad will follow through on his commitment to a truce starting next week. Anti-regime activists cited the new assaults as evidence Assad is trying to crush those seeking to overthrow his regime before the cease-fire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan begins on April 10. Activist groups reported more than 50 dead nationwide for the day. Russia, a key Assad ally, warned other nations not to arm the opposition, predicting such a move would only increase bloodshed without ending…