Beirut: Syrian forces killed five people on Monday in raids on anti-government protesters determined to bring down the autocratic regime, according to a rights group.
Syria`s six-month-old uprising has descended into a bloody stalemate pitting government forces against angry crowds of protesters. The UN estimates the death toll has topped 2,200 people.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said military forces conducted deadly raids Monday in Houla, an area consisting of several villages in central Homs province, killing five people.
The observatory quoted one of its activists in the area as saying there was intense shooting, and tanks have cut roads in the area.
President Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for more than four decades, insists the unrest is being driven by a foreign conspiracy to destroy the country and says security forces are the real victims.
On Monday, the state-run media said a "terrorist group" ambushed two buses in the central province of Hama, killing four police officers.
Syria has banned independent media coverage, making it difficult to verify the reports.
The Syrian uprising began in mid-March, part of the wave of protests in the Arab world that have toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.