Satellite spots tanks in Syrian city

This satellite image provided by Digital Globe shows three Syrian military tanks near the Al Baath University housing complex and the Baba Amr neighborhood in the southwest section of Homs, Syria, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. AP Photo/Digital Globe

LONGMONT, Colo. - Satellite image provider DigitalGlobe Inc. released photos Friday that appear to show Syrian army tanks and other armored vehicles in the city of Homs.

DigitalGlobe said the images were taken late Friday morning Syrian time by the company's WorldView 2 satellite from about 480 miles above the Earth.

Stephen Wood, director of DigitalGlobe's analysis center, said the photos show tanks, armored personnel carriers and other armored vehicles in the southern part of the city, some of them near apartment buildings.

The satellite images show an increase in the level of army activity in and around Homs from the previous 24 hours, Wood said.

Fighting in Homs has reportedly killed hundreds of people over the past week from bombardments followed by soldiers' advances. The battle there is part of the Syrian government's attempts to suppress an 11-month-old uprising against the rule of President Bashar Assad.

Wood said no battle damage was visible in the photos taken Friday, but previous images captured by the company's satellites did show the effects of fighting.

Homs looks deserted, with very few cars on the streets in the satellite photos, he said.

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DigitalGlobe company has been gathering satellite photos of Syria since mid-2011, he said.

Cloud cover over Syria in recent days has left few opportunities for satellite photography, and the images captured Friday are hazy because of moisture in the atmosphere, Wood said.

The images were taken the day that two suicide bombers attacked security compounds in the Syrian city of Aleppo, killing 28 people, according to Syrian government officials. Troops and security forces fired on anti-regime protesters as they left mosques after Friday prayers nationwide.

DigitalGlobe is based in Longmont, Colo., and sells satellite imagery and analysis to clients that include the U.S. military, emergency response agencies and private companies.

The company has three orbiting satellites, and a fourth is under construction.

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