At least 10 people are reported to have died in clashes across Syria, as opposition activists called a general strike.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that most of the deaths were in the cities of Homs and Hama.
The British-based group said heavy machine-gun fire was heard and two armored carriers were burned in pre-dawn clashes in the northern Idlib province. The state news agency SANA said authorities confronted members of "an armed terrorist group."
There were also reports of clashes between defectors and troops near the border with Jordan.
The Observatory said a general strike called by opposition activists was being "very widely observed" in the southern Daraa province. The activists said schoolchildren and civil servants also stayed at home in some parts of Damascus.
The United Nations estimates that more than 4,000 people have died in the nine-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
compiled from agency reports