Syrian warplanes and artillery pounded the central city of Homs yesterday, subjecting the rebel stronghold to its heaviest bombardment in months.
The reported tank and mortar shelling as well as air strikes come alongside a push by government forces on another front, in the embattled northern city of Aleppo.
The stepped-up pace of government attacks on Syrian cities suggests the Damascus regime's forces have not been distracted by escalating tensions with its northern neighbour, Turkey. On Thursday, Ankara's parliament authorised cross-border military operations after a Syrian shell killed five civilians on Turkish territory the day before.
The Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, pictured, warned Syria yesterday that testing Turkey would be "a fatal mistake".
Striking a belligerent tone in a speech to a crowd in Istanbul, he said: "We are not interested in war, but we're not far from it either. This nation has come to where it is today having gone through intercontinental wars.
"When they say 'if you want peace, prepare for war' it means that when the time comes, war becomes the key to peace."