Syrian warplanes launched airstrikes on the city of Homs on Thursday, as forces loyal to Assad stepped-up their ground assault on rebel-held districts of Syria's largest city, AFP reported.
"Warplanes carried out two raids against the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood of Homs, and both Khaldiyeh and the Old City were under heavy rocket fire producing the sound of explosions and plumes of smoke," opposition-aligned watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Right said.
"Sporadic clashes were ongoing between rebels and regime forces on the outskirts of Khaldiyeh," they added.
Homs city has been dubbed as the 'centre of the uprising' and was subjected to a fierce army assault last year which devestated the Baba Amr district.
Reports of the escalation in violence came as poltical members of the Syrian opposition met for talks in Istanbul. The fractious body is aiming to elect a new leader and to prove to Western decision-makers that they can be trusted with the advanced weapons they want to aid their fights against the Syrian President.
Despite Western nations pledging military support to the rebel forces, disunity within the poltical opposition body has left supporters reluctant to supply advanced military aid.