Beirut, Dec 19: 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 war.
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 homes.”
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.