Eleven people were killed in Syria on Monday in a 10-month-old struggle between President Bashar Al Assad and his foes that a peace plan monitored by Arab observers has failed to quench.
Arab foreign ministers will meet on Sunday to discuss the future of the mission sent last month.
Random gunfire from pro-Assad militiamen killed five people, including a woman, and wounded nine in the restive city of Homs, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
It said five soldiers were killed when they tried to change sides during a clash with rebels in the northwestern province of Idlib, adding that 15 soldiers had succeeded in defecting.
The state news agency Sana said an "armed terrorist group" had shot dead Brigadier-General Mohammed Abdul-Hamid Al-Awad and wounded his driver in the countryside near Damascus.
The latest violence erupted a day after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Assad to "stop killing your people".
The head of the Arab monitoring mission is due to report to an Arab League committee on Thursday before Arab foreign ministers gather to consider their next step on Syria.