Syrian troops reportedly fired mortar shells at a Damascus suburb on Wednesday while a suicide bomber killed a soldier in the north-west.
Local opposition activist Mohammed Saeed said that security forces pounded Douma for a second day, despite a visit by UN observers. Mr Saeed said soldiers fired before, during and after the visit, their third to Douma in three days.
Insurgents also kept up attacks on security forces, with the Sana state-run news agency reporting that a suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives near an army checkpoint in north-western Syria on Wednesday, killing one soldier and wounding two.
And a roadside bomb blew up in Aleppo province, critically wounding three people, the agency added.
Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri called on jihadists to go to Syria and fight against the government earlier this year.
US officials and Western diplomats have conceded that Islamic extremists are flowing in from Iraq.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
As LGBT activists worldwide celebrate anti-homophobia day we are reminded of prevailing prejudice
Bradford has seen the launch of a new campaign to battle the sources of child sex exploitation - and combat far-right bids to make it a racial issue