SYRIA- Syria`s official news agency SANA reports on Sunday “Syrian authorities had thwarted an infiltration attempt by an armed terrorist group that wanted to cross over from Lebanon into Syria near al-Qseir city in Homs countryside.”
SANA quoted a source in Homs Province telling that “the clash resulted in the killing and injury of a number of terrorists in addition to destroying two cars equipped with machinegun. Two members of the law-enforcement forces were wounded.”
Syrian competent authorities also “Clashed and thwarted an infiltration attempt by an armed terrorist group” which sought to cross over from Turkey into Syria through Bab al-Hawa, SANA reported.
The Syrian regime has repeatedly blamed “armed terrorist groups” for the unrest the country has witnessed since March 2011.
Late on Saturday, Syrian official media outlets announced that Syria’s military has begun large-scale military exercises involving missile tests and ground and air operations meant to test its readiness to respond to aggression.
In turn, Syrian opposition activists said Sunday that Syrian forces pounded Aleppo and Deir Ezzour provinces as at least 35 people were killed on Sunday across the country, among them 17 civilians.
“Fierce clashes took place before dawn between regime forces and rebels in the vicinity of al-Qseir, accompanied by heavy shelling on al-Qseir and neighboring villages as the regime tried to regain control,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by phone.
In Rastan, “the army carried out shelling in an attempt to storm the city and clashed with fighters from the rebel combat battalions, forcing the government troops to retreat,” he said.
Both towns, al-Qseir & al- Rastan, are strongholds of the rebel Free Syrian Army, according to AFP report on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, fifteen people, including a child, were killed Sunday in incidents of unrest in Syria, said the Local Coordination Committees (LCC). The LCC noted that this number came a day after the massacre of some 71 individuals in various regions in Syria.
Some in the Syrian opposition have appealed to the international community to intervene in the country’s crisis, which they say has killed more than 14,000 people.
More than 17,000 people, including 11,815 civilians, have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of the revolt in March 2011, the Observatory reported on Saturday.
The total also includes 4,316 members of the army and security services and 881 deserters, Abdel Rahman said.
Rebels who are not army defectors are included in the civilian toll.
Since the beginning of an attempted ceasefire on April 12, a key point in the peace plan of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, 5,898 people have been killed, he said.
The tolls are impossible to verify, and the United Nations has stopped keeping a tally.
Syria official Ikhbaria TV reports Sunday that Kofi Annan is expected in Damascus on Monday. Syria TV gives no further information for this leaked news.
The West has shown little appetite for military intervention in Syria.