The UN has demanded women, children, the elderly and injured to be evacuated from Syrian combat zones following the suspension of its observer mission. Heavy fighting continues in towns across Syria with scores of people being killed in clashes between the opposition and government troops.
On Sunday, activists say regime forces tried to root out rebels from urban areas by heavy shelling in the central city of Homs. They also say that, in the town of Douma, just outside the capital Damascus, rebels opened fire on a bus of soldiers killing eight.
The U.S. is now consulting its allies on what to do about the escalation of violence, but has acknowledged a Libya-style intervention to topple the Assad government would be difficult.