Violence in Syria cost at least 10 lives on Saturday as a U.N force to oversee a truce neared half its planned .strength, monitors said.
In Idlib province, a stronghold near the Turkish border of rebels fighting President Bahar Assad's regime, security force gunfire killed a man and a woman during a series of raids, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Another civilian and a child were killed in pre-dawn shelling in central Hama province, the Britain-based watchdog said, while a fifth was killed by sniper fire in the northeastern city of Deir al-Zour.
Meanwhile, four soldiers and an army deserter were killed in clashes between rebel groups and regime forces in Idlib province, according to the Observatory.
For its part, state news agency SANA said authorities thwarted an infiltration attempt by an "armed terrorist group" from Turkey and entered the Idlib city of Jisr al-Shughur.
Syrian forces killed and wounded a number of the "terrorists," as the rest fled back into Turkey, SANA added, saying the groups' weapons had been seized and RPG launchers and machineguns.
Elsewhere, troops also clashed with rebel fighters in the flashpoint central province of Homs, in southern Daraa province, and in several areas of Damascus province.
A military court, meanwhile, has released eight activists, including blogger Razan Ghazzawi, until their May 29 trial on charges of "possession of banned publications," human rights lawyer Anwar Bunni said on Saturday.
The persistent violence came as the U.N. mission in Syria said it now had 145 military observers on the ground, just shy of half the force of 300 authorized by the Security Council. They are backed by 56 civilian staff.
The observers are tasked with shoring up a ceasefire brokered by U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan that was supposed to take effect on April 12 but which has been broken daily.
According to the Observatory, another 17 people were killed in violence on Friday, including 12 civilians, while the total death toll has climbed to more than 930, over two-thirds of them civilians, since the battered ceasefire.
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