03/26/2013 05:01 EDT | Updated 05/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Syrian forces take back symbolic neighbourhood in Homs

BEIRUT - Syrian activists say government forces have seized control of a neighbourhood in the central city of Homs that is a symbol of opposition to President Bashar Assad's regime.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday that government forces pushed rebels from Baba Amr after two weeks of clashes, shelling and airstrikes that destroyed many homes.

The Syrian state news agency said Monday that government forces had "restored security and stability" to the neighbourhood.

Baba Amr, a poor neighbourhood in southwest Homs, emerged early in the uprising as a symbol of the rebel movement, first for its protests and later for the armed groups who held it against regime troops.

It changed hands a number of times since, with rebels saying earlier this month that they took it back.