At least 40 people were killed on Saturday in violence across Syria, the majority by regime forces who shelled rebel bastions and clashed with opposition fighters in several areas, a watchdog said.
The casualties included at least 10 regime troops who had tried to desert in Damascus province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"The Syrian authorities transferred the bodies of 10 soldiers who tried to desert from near Jisr al-Shaaba before dawn," the Britain-based watchdog said, quoting a local source.
In the central province of Homs, nine civilians were killed by gunfire and shelling by troops, including two in the rebel stronghold of Qusayr and six in Homs city, where troops have bombarded several neighbourhoods, the Observatory said.
Also in central Syria, two civilians were killed in the city of Hama in a dawn ambush by regime forces, and a third was killed in clashes between troops and rebels elsewhere in the province.
In the town of Mahaja in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the revolt against the President Bashar al-Assad's rule, troops used tanks to storm the area.
Elsewhere in Daraa, one civilian was shot dead in a raid by security forces.
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In northern Aleppo province, four people, including two rebels, were killed, while insurgents released four Kurdish troops they had captured.
In northwest province of Idlib, two people were killed in regime shelling targeting the town of Maaret al-Numan, the Observatory said.
Four civilians were killed in Douma by regime forces, including a man shot dead by a sniper.
The Damascus suburb was labelled a "disaster area" by local activists, who posted videos showing deserted streets littered with debris.
Three civilians, including a child, were killed by snipers in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, the Observatory said, reporting fierce clashes between troops and rebels.
Four civilians died elsewhere in the province, including a child killed by a shell in the town of Al-Quria, the site of anti-regime demonstrations on Friday.
The latest violence comes a day after a least 116 people, including 69 civilians, 31 members of pro-regime forces, and six rebels, died across Syria.