Thousands more Syrians fled the country today as rebels attacked government positions in the north of the country.
United Nations officials said 11,000 people had poured across borders into Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon in a single day, taking the total number of registered refugees to over 408,000.
Fighting raged in Harem in northern Idlib province and in Ras al-Ayn in the north-east.
UN regional humanitarian co-ordinator for Syria Radhouane Nouicer said civilians "continue to pay the price" for the unrelenting struggle between the government of Bashar al-Assad and rebels that include hundreds of foreign Islamist fighters.
As the fighting raged Western-backed sections of the opposition continued to try to thrash out a deal expected to see a 60-strong council emerge which the US hopes will help it proceed with a new strategy to help topple the Assad government.
The new council, formed under intense US diplomatic pressure, would include more representatives drawn from within Syria and would seek to develop a military co-ordination capacity.
The "official" opposition has long demanded more weapons and the institution of a so-called no-fly zone that would allow the West to take control of the country's skies, at least in the north of the country where the rebellion is centred.
Washington has so far held back from giving open military support, although Turkey and other countries in the region have been supplying weapons to the rebels.
The establishment of an organised military command would remove one of the practical obstacles currently in the way of concerted US-backed action.
AFP reported senior Free Syrian Army commander General Mustafa Sheikh as confirming that the group, one of the main armed forces operating against the government, was reorganising itself in order to win international backing for its war.
However Assad came out fighting in an interview broadcast in full by Russia Today today.
Branding the conflict in Syria "a new kind of war," he said his government faced "terrorism through proxies, either Syrians living in Syria or foreign fighters coming from abroad.
"As long as you have continuous supply in terrorists, armaments, logistics and everything else, it is going to be a long-term war."
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