Syrian troops have reportedly resumed their offensive targeting restive areas of the country.
Activists said the Syrian Army resumed its shelling of rebel bastions in the central city of Homs and the town of Rastan, while ground forces stormed areas near Damascus to the south.
Reports of new military operations came after the Syrian regime rejected an Arab League plan to send an international peacekeeping force to Syria.
Earlier, the Syrian government said it "categorically rejected” an Arab League plan to open contacts with Syria's opposition and to ask the United Nations to form a joint peacekeeping force to help halt the country's 11-month conflict.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on February 13 that Moscow believes “something resembling a cease-fire" was necessary before any such force was deployed.
Tunisia has announced it will host on February 24 the first meeting of the Friends of Syria contact group, including Arab and other states.
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged Syrians not to rely on the West or Arab governments in their uprising.
In a video posted to the Internet, Zawahri described Assad as a butcher and urged Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan to come to the aid of the rebels.
Compiled from agency reports