Armed rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad clashed Wednesday with security forces in the flashpoint southern province of Daraa, a rights group reported.
"Violent clashes erupted between security forces and groups of (army) deserters" in the provincial protest hub of Dael, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement received in Nicosia.
Electricity and telephone lines had been cut off in the area, said the statement which quoted a witness as saying the clashes were triggered by the arrival in the town by at least 30 armoured personnel carriers.
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At least two government vehicles were destroyed in the fighting, according to the witness cited by the Britain-based Observatory.
UN-appointed investigators released a report on Tuesday that accused Assad's regime of crimes against humanity.
In an attempt to end the bloodshed, the Arab League has slapped Syria with economic sanctions that include a ban on transactions with its government and central bank, and a freeze on its assets in Arab countries.
According to UN figures released in early November, more than 3,500 people have been killed in the Syrian unrest since mid-March.