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Syria - Mar 22, 2012 - 16:49

Last modified: 22 Mar 2012 13:49

Despite the UN Security Council's call for "immediate" peace in Syria, there are reports of deadly clashes across the country. Citing (unconfirmed) activist sources, the AFP news agency reports:

Ten civilians on a bus trying to flee to Turkey were among at least 26 people killed on Thursday, monitors and activists said.

The bus, with women and children on board, was shot up near the town of Sermin in the northwestern province of Idlib, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, without identifying the assailants.

An opposition activist on the ground, Milad Fadl, contacted by AFP in Beirut, said the civilians were headed for Turkey to escape the bloodshed when regime forces opened fire.

The Britain-based Observatory said earlier that a 17-year-old boy was killed and dozens wounded in an army assault on Sermin itself. Army forces attacked several towns, while rebel fighters struck army posts in several provinces and announced a command structure to coordinate hit-and-run strikes in and around the capital.

In the deadliest attack on the army, five soldiers were killed in a raid on a military checkpoint in the region of Latakia, said the Observatory. The region has a large population of Alawites, members of the minority offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar al-Assad also belongs and which forms the backbone of his regime.

In the south, rebel fighters killed a soldier and wounded four others near the village of Saida in Daraa province, where Syria's year-old revolt against the regime erupted, said the monitoring group.

Army deserters killed two soldiers in the town.