Helicopter Gunships Deployed as More Than 100 Dead in Syriaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Helicopter gunships on Monday fired on rebels in central and northwestern Syria in a bid to snuff out armed opposition as violence killed 103 people across the country, a watchdog and activists said.
The Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said regime forces killed 89 people across the country, including women, children and rebels.
Thirty-five people were killed in Idlib, 15 in Hama, 14 in Deir Ezzor, eight in the countryside around Damascus, five in Aleppo, five in Latakia, five in Homs and two in the capital Damascus, the LCC said.
The rebel positions were targeted from the air in al-Heffa, in the northwestern province of Latakia, and in Rastan, in the central region of Homs, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Government troops have been pounding al-Heffa daily for the past week to crush fighters of the Free Syrian Army deployed in the rugged countryside near the Turkish border, activists said.
Activists said Monday's assault was violent and described the situation in al-Heffa as "terrible," although there were no immediate reports of any casualties.
"Army tanks are deployed at the entrances of the town. They have never come this close before," activist Sema Nassar told Agence France Presse in Beirut via Skype, weeping as she spoke.
"There's only one doctor working to treat the wounded in the town," of 30,000 people, said Nassar, adding most of the residents have fled.
"Some civilians have stayed behind to help the rebel fighters defend the town," she added.
Regime forces also used helicopters to attack rebel positions in Rastan, a town which has faced intermittent army shelling "for months," the Britain-based Observatory said.
Four civilians, including a young girl, were killed in the violence, it added.
Troops have trying to overrun Rastan since mid-May, after rebel fighters from the battered city of Homs regrouped in the town which straddles the main highway linking Damascus to the north.
In restive Qusayr, also in Homs province, another two civilians were killed, the Observatory said.
Activists in the central province of Hama told AFP that regime troops continued to target towns and villages in the region, where anti-regime sentiment was strong.
"We are worried about how much violence there might be there right now, because we have heard that regime forces are using residents as human shields," an activist who identified himself as Abu Ghazi al-Hamwi told AFP via Skype.
At least five people were killed across Hama on Monday, the Observatory said.
Elsewhere, at least nine people were killed in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where rebels and regime forces clashed, while a blast in the northwestern city of Idlib killed a civilian and seven regime forces, it added.
Also in Idlib, 11 others were killed, including three rebels, six regime troops, two women and a teenager, according to the watchdog, while in the northern province of Aleppo, two people were killed as clashes intensified.
And after days of violence in the capital, a booby-trapped car exploded in the central district of Barzeh killing one person, the Observatory added, while gunmen shot dead a ruling Baath party official in the city suburbs.
The latest deaths took place after at least 63 people were killed nationwide on Sunday -- 38 civilians, 19 soldiers, and six rebel fighters -- the Observatory reported.
More than 14,100 people have been killed since an anti-regime revolt broke out in March last year, including 9,862 civilians, 3,470 soldiers and 783 army defectors, according to the watchdog.
The Observatory counts rebel fighters who are not defectors from the army as civilians.