BEIRUT - Syrian forces pounded central districts of the flashpoint city of Homs on Sunday and rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad attacked a police station in the northern province of Aleppo, resident opposition activists and a rights group said.

"Early this morning we saw a helicopter and a spotter plane fly overhead. Ten minutes later, there was heavy shelling," said Walid al-Fares, an activist living in Khalidiya, one of the neighborhoods where mortars bombs have landed.

Another resident said that government loyalists were using heavy machine guns to shoot into the area.

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said shells were being fired at a rate of one a minute.

Abdelrahman said there had also been overnight clashes in rural Aleppo.

"People said they heard explosions and shooting after rebels attacked a police station and then clashed with police," he said.

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