Clashes between Syrian troops and defectors in northern Syria
Clashes were taking place Monday between Syrian troops and army defectors in the northern province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad's regime using heavy machine guns targeted private homes during the clashes that began in the early morning, the London-based group said, dpa reported.
Idlib is known to be a hub for former army personnel attempting to flee the government crackdown on defectors by crossing into neighbouring Turkey.
In the southern province of Daraa, a group of army deserters attacked a bus carrying government security forces on Monday, leaving several injured, according to the observatory.
Increasing clashes between defectors and regular army units might take Syria into a civil war, observers have warned.
Army deserters have formed the Free Syrian Army and have been launching attacks on government targets.
The United Nations estimates that in excess of 4,000 people have been killed in the government crackdown on protests calling for the ouster of al-Assad that started in March.
The government has blamed the uprising against al-Assad on armed gangs financed by Arab and Western countries.