Violence in Syria killed at least 34 people on Sunday, including 15 members of the security forces who died in firefights across the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The violence came a day after the regime of President Bashar al-Assad declared that those seeking its ouster had been defeated and that it was now focused on stabilising the security situation nationwide.
The latest deaths come as dozens of representatives from Western and Arab countries met in Istanbul for talks aimed at pressuring Damascus to implement a peace plan by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to stop the bloodshed.
“The battle to topple the state is over,” ministry spokesman Jihad al-Makdissi told government channel Syria TV. “Our goal now is to ensure stability and create a perspective for reform and development.”
Washington and Gulf Arab states urged the UN and Arab League’s peace envoy Kofi Annan to set a timeline for “next steps” if there was no ceasefire, and Saudi Arabia repeated a call for rebels to be armed.
“We cannot accept the presence of tanks and troops in armoured vehicles among the people,” a spokesman for Free Syrian Army commanders inside Syria said.