Beirut: Armed clashes erupted in Syria on Sunday,
killing at least 14 civilians and six government troops in
central and northern Syria, activists said, the latest sign
that the nation`s uprising may be deteriorating into civil
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
said an army officer was among the six soldiers killed in the
town of Qusair in Homs province, near the border with Lebanon.
"Three armoured vehicles were destroyed, and those inside
were killed and wounded," according to the group, which relies
on a network of activists inside the country. It said the
clashes also resulted in the "partial destruction of some
Heavy gunbattles were also reported today in several
villages in the restive Jabal al-Zawiya region in the northern
Idlib province near the Turkish border, where many defectors
are believed to be operating.
The Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees
activist network said at least 14 civilians were killed in
clashes and shootings by security forces toward civilian areas
in the Homs region, as well as the Jabal al-Zawiya area and
the town of Maaret al-Numan in the north.
The reports could not be confirmed independently, because
Syria has banned most foreign correspondents and limited
movement around the country.
Syria has seen a sharp escalation in armed clashes
recently, raising concerns the country of 22 million is
slipping toward civil war nine months into the uprising
against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.