Syrian troops capture historic mosque in central city of Homs


BEIRUT — Syrian state media says government forces have captured a historic mosque that has been under rebel control for more than a year in the central city of Homs.

State TV quotes an unnamed military official as saying that troops took control today of the 13th-century mosque of Khalid Ibn al-Walid in the heavily disputed northern neighborhood of Khaldiyeh.

The mosque is famous for its nine domes and two minarets. It has been a symbol for rebels in the city that is known as "the capital of the revolution." On Monday, government troops shelled the mosque, damaging the tomb of Ibn al-Walid, a revered figure in Islam.

Government troops launched an offensive on rebel-held areas in Homs late last month and have been pushing into Khaldiyeh and nearby neighborhoods.