Syrian government forces have renewed their attacks in the capital, Damascus, killing at least 35 people in a campaign of shelling and artillery fire.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA that Wednesday's deaths occurred in Kfar Souseh, Daraya and other southern districts where anti-government rebels operate.
Residents said the shelling and aerial bombardment were some of the fiercest since the army reasserted control over the opposition neighborhoods. They said rebels who left the city last month during a brutal army campaign had started to return.
Also Wednesday, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told BFM-RMC radio that France is providing the Syrian opposition with “non-lethal” military aid such as means of communication and protection. But he added that France opposes any military intervention in Syria without U.N. backing.
Mr. Ayrault said France had responded to a request from the rebels for aid.
Medical sources in Lebanon said at least seven people were killed overnight in the northern city of Tripoli in clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites divided over Syria.
More than 100 people have been wounded in fighting which erupted this week along a sectarian fault line separating rival neighborhoods in the city.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is from the minority Alawite sect.