Syria: Opposition meets in Istanbul amid ongoing clashes
Fighting between government troops and soldiers of the Free Syrian Army deserters (FSA) raged over night between Monday and Tuesday, killing at least eight people including four civilians, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
A woman was killed by a stray bullet during fighting between soldiers and deserters in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, according to SOHR, while two other women died in al-Maaret Noomane, in the province of Idleb (northwest).
A fourth civilian was shot dead by a sniper in the district of Deblane in Homs (center), reported SOHR.
In addition, four members of the regime's forces were killed in fighting or attacks by deserters in Maaret al-Noomane and Homs, said SOHR.
The local coordinating committees (LCC) have also reported bombardments of several districts of Homs that were bombed relentlessly for a week. Nearby towns of Qousseir, in the province of Homs, and the town of Kalaat-al Madiq near Hama (center) were also under gunfire by government forces, according to the LCC.
SOHR has also stated that some 70% of the residents of Saraqeb, a town in the province of Idleb where the army has been operating since Saturday, fled during the first 48 hours.
During this period, 18 civilians were killed, including women and children, and 63 homes were destroyed, said the NGO.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition groups, meeting in Istanbul, are trying to reach a common position on the future of the country, including the establishment of an alternative to the Assad regime.
"We do not trust the Assad regime. We have become accustomed [to the regime] for many years and before him with his father for 50 years... (UN envoy Kofi) Annan's plan is not clear," said a representative of the Syrian opposition.