At least 23 people are reported to have been killed in fresh violence in Syria, site of an eight-month uprising against President Bashar Assad.
In the bloodiest incident, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said seven security forces members, five army rebels, and three civilians were killed in a gun battle in the northwestern city of Idlib near the Turkish border.
Five civilians were also reported killed in central Homs province.
The Arab League has given Damascus until today to sign an initiative to end the crackdown.
In making the announcement, Qatar's foreign minister said sanctions would be imposed soon if Syria does not sign the deal, which includes Arab monitors to ensure that Damascus abides by a promise to end violence.
compiled from Reuters reports