At least 15 people are dead and 12 others have been wounded in a car bombing in the central Syrian city of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the observatory, said the bombing happened in the city's Armenian district, which is home to mostly Christians and Alawites.

Syria's state news agency SANA reported a "terrorist attack" on the main street of the district, "which caused deaths, injuries and damage".

The neighbourhood, in the east of Homs, is under government control.

Homs, once dubbed the "capital" of Syria's revolution for its prominent, well-attended anti-government protests, has been the scene of fierce fighting between the regime and rebels.

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is from the Alawite community, a religious minority that stems from Shia Islam.

Part of its Old City under rebel control has been subjected to a tight government siege that has left several thousand civilians trapped.

In recent weeks, UN and Red Crescent teams were able to evacuate some civilians from Homs and distribute food and medicine to those remaining in the besieged neighbourhoods, but the operations have stopped.

Source: AFP