Activists say Syrian security forces killed at least 10 people on Thursday, a day after the government agreed to a plan that calls for an end to violence against opposition demonstrators.
The activists say Syrian troops targeted citizens in the flashpoint city of Homs. At least some of the deaths came after troops attacked with heavy artillery fire in the Baba Amr district. The accounts could not be independently verified.
Activists say anti-government protesters held rallies in several regions across the country on Thursday. The opposition Local Coordination Committees said troops made arrests and used force to disperse students demonstrating against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Daraa, Aleppo, Kafrouma and Damascus.
Thursday's deaths and military actions cast doubt on a quick implementation of the Arab League plan.
Members of the opposition Syrian National Council met with the Arab League chief in Cairo Thursday. The Arab plan calls for a dialogue with the Syrian opposition within two weeks.
Syrian National Council member Samir al-Nashar, however, said the group did not talk about possible discussions with the Syrian government during the Arab League meeting.
Instead, he said the SNC asked that President Assad step down and then offered to "engage in negotiations" to move from an authoritarian government to a democratic one.
A Syrian opposition leader based in France, Burhan Ghalioun, said Thursday he believes Syria will not respect the clauses of the plan. He says the Syrian government only accepted the initiative out of fear of Arab and international isolation.
The United Nations says the number of people killed during the eight-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has topped 3,000.
The Syrian government has blamed much of the deadly violence on gunmen and "terrorists."
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.