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Syrian forces shell Homs neighborhood, activists say. Troop assault next?

A rebel-held neighborhood in the Syrian city of Homs was shelled Friday by Syrian troops, according to activists. Also, UN monitors entered the Syrian village where reports of a new massacre have surfaced this week.

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This image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network and accessed Friday, June 8, purports to show explosions in the Khaldiyeh area of Homs, Syria.

Shaam News Network via AP video/AP

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Syrian troops on Friday heavily shelled a rebel-held neighborhood in the flashpoint central city of Homs as the military appeared to be readying to storm the area, activists said.

Also, U.N. observers entered an area where a massacre was reported this week, an activist said Friday. The monitors were stopped and fired upon Thursday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees had no immediate word on casualties from the shelling of the Khaldiyeh neighborhood in Homs. Amateur videos posted online showed a small white plane, apparently a drone, flying over Homs.

"Khaldiyeh is being subjected to five to 10 shells a minute in the worst shelling since the revolution began," the Observatory said in a statement Friday. "It seems they are trying to enter it today."

Homs has been one of the hardest hit regions in Syria since the uprising against Assad's regime began in March last year. The U.N. said several weeks ago that more than 9,000 people have been killed since the crisis began while activists put the number of dead at about 13,000.

Amateur videos showed missiles exploding into balls of flames in the crowded concrete jumble of homes, in cracking, thundering crashes that sent plumes of menacing, heavy gray smoke over Homs. The videos suggested the attack began at dawn, as birds chirped, roosters crowed, and the sun cast a yellow glow.

In one video, the missiles came in rapid succession, four exploding in less than a minute.

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