Syrian forces continued to attack rebel strongholds Tuesday, with activist groups saying mortar shells hit anti-government protesters in the eastern town of Deir al-Zour, killing 10 people as fighting raged elsewhere.
The attack on the town close to the Iraqi border came hours after a car bomb killed a dozen people there.
In the western town of al-Haffeh, activists say hundreds of rebels are facing a continued tank and helicopter-backed assault. The helicopter attacks - confirmed by the U.N. on Monday - are regarded as a significant escalation by government forces.
United Nations spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh said Tuesday that U.N. monitors who had travelled towards al-Haffeh to investigate reports of clashes in the area found it too dangerous to enter. The United States fears Syrian forces are planning to massacre civilians in the town.
Clashes began last week when security forces initiated their attempt to capture the strategic Sunni Muslim town, located close to the port city of Latakia and the Turkish border - and used by rebels as an active smuggling route for people and supplies.
The spokesman for international envoy Kofi Annan, Ahmad Fawzi, said Tuesday that an international "contact group" will meet soon to discuss how to pressure Syria's government and opposition groups to implement the U.N.-Arab League envoy's tattered peace plan. News by VOA News.
Jay Gory, The Cheers News
TAGS: World-news Heavy Fighting Continues in Syria