Syrian troops seize buildings in rebel-held parts of strategic city of Homs

An activist and Syrian state media say regime troops are advancing in parts of the rebel-held city of Homs.

Homs-based activist Tarik Badrakhan said Saturday that Syrian troops seized control of buildings in the rebel-held district of Khaldiyeh, the first time government forces entered Homs neighborhoods held by rebels for over a year. Syrian state media said troops were advancing and they had killed rebels in the area.

Badrakhan says troops began the move Friday night.

He says regime forces continued to pound the area with mortar shells and missiles Saturday, part a major offensive by President Bashar Assad's troops to seize control of territory they lost to rebels.

Homs is a strategic city located between the capital Damascus and the Syrian coast, a stronghold for the Assad regime.