Clashes erupt in flashpoint Syrian district

Associated Press
This citizen journalism image taken on, Sunday, March. 10, 2013 and provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrians standing next to dead bodies that have been pulled from the river near Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, Syria. Activists said the dead bodies of at least 20 men were pulled from a river that runs between regime- and rebel-controlled parts of the northern city. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian activists say rebels are clashing with government troops in a flashpoint neighborhood in central Syria, a day after opposition fighters entered the area.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the government forces are firing heavy machine guns and have launched an airstrike to dislodge the rebels on Monday from the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs.

The neighborhood gained notoriety early in the uprising as a center of opposition to President Bashar Assad's regime. Government forces shelled the neighborhood for months, then retook it after a month-long siege last year. Hundreds were killed.

The U.N. says more than 70,000 people have been killed in Syria's crisis, which began in March 2011 and has since become a civil war.