Syrian forces are continuing to attack rebel-held areas across the country as international envoy Kofi Annan voices deep concern about the latest violence, citing the shelling of Homs and reports of mortars, helicopters and tanks in Latakia province. Annan's spokesman says there are "indications a large number of civilians are trapped in those towns."
Activists also reported an aerial assault targeting the strategic river city of Rastan, which has resisted repeated government offensives for months.
Rami Abdul-Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces have been increasingly relying on helicopters since government troops suffered major losses in recent battles.
The Observatory reported at least 24 deaths throughout Syria on Monday, another activist coalition, the Local Coordination Committees, said 33 people were killed. It is impossible to independently confirm the toll.