Syrian activists say more than 300 people were killed across Syria on Thursday, in what is believed to be the deadliest day in the 16-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
said Friday that nearly 100 of the people killed in the violence were government troops. Many civilians were also killed.
Syrian state media reported that government troops have recovered full control of a volatile neighborhood in Damascus, the Midan District.
The capital has been the scene of fierce clashes this week between Syrian troops and rebel forces. Wednesday, a rebel bomb blast killed three senior military figures with close ties to President Assad. State television Friday said the country's national security chief, Gen. Hisham Ikhtiyar, died of wounds suffered in the blast.
The rebels seized control of major border posts with Iraq and Turkey Thursday, leading Iraqi officials to close off the border with Syria. Iraq also says the rebels killed at least 21 Syrian soldiers at the crossing.
Meanwhile, Russia has rejected Western criticism of its veto Thursday of a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have threatened Syria with sanctions if it does not halt violence.
"It is absolutely unacceptable that some Western countries are trying to lay the blame for the escalating Syrian violence on Russia's refusal to support a resolution threatening sanctions against the authorities," foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
Security Council to meet
China also vetoed the resolution, which would have extended the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria. The mandate of the mission is due to expire Friday. Council members are expected to meet again to consider a resolution that would extend the mandate for a brief period.
China's state media defended Beijing's veto, Friday. "Unfortunately, some Western countries hastily pushed for a vote on the immature draft, which, if adopted, will only lead to more violence in Syria."
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.