Syrian troops were storming areas in southern Daraa province near the Jordan border Monday, opposition activists said, hours before envoy Kofi Annan was to brief the UN on progress made in implementing his peace plan. dpa reported.
"Dozens of shells rained down on Daal city, while troops backed by at least 50 tanks are now at the entrance of the city," activist Haytham al-Abbdullah told dpa. There was fierce fighting in Daal last week between rebels and government forces.
In the Damascus suburbs of Zabadani and Harasta, the sound of machine gun fire could be heard from early Monday as rebels clashed with army units.
According to activists, 80 people were killed Sunday, mainly in the central provinces of Homs, Hama and in the northern areas of Idlib. The United Nations estimates that more than 9,000 people have been killed since the uprising started in March 2011.
Meanwhile, the army seized a large cache of arms and arrested "gunmen" with their weapons in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, the state-run news agency SANA reported.
Western and Arab nations on Sunday warned President Bashar al-Assad to stop delaying the adoption of a peace plan by United Nations-Arab League envoy Annan.
Damascus last week said it had accepted Annan's plan, but it has yet to order a ceasefire and withdraw troops and tanks from civilian areas.
Annan is to brief the UN Security Council later Monday about his recent meetings in Russia and China, both key Syrian allies.
At the second Friends of the Syrian People conference in Istanbul on Sunday, the Syrian National Council was recognized as the sole legitimate opposition group.