Syrian troops shelled several areas of Idlib province Thursday (July 5th), as a total of 56 people were killed across the country, AFP reported, citing the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Observatory said 39 of those killed were civilians, 16 regime troops and one an opposition fighter.
Army artillery pounded Maaret al-Numan, an Idlib town and scene of frequent violence, killing six people including a man, a woman and their child, the watchdog said.
Troops also shelled Al-Tah village, killing at least five people, it said, adding that dozens were wounded, some critically.
In Deraa, a member of the opposition was killed in clashes with regime forces, and in Homs province a brigadier general was killed in a targeted assassination.
Meanwhile, China joined Russia on Thursday in boycotting a meeting aimed at co-ordinating efforts to stop the killing in Syria.
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said China would not attend the "Friends of Syria" gathering in Paris on Friday.
Russia has also said it will stay away from the meeting after accusing the West of seeking to distort a weekend deal by world powers in Geneva aimed at achieving a transition of power. The Paris meeting follows one in Tunis and another in Istanbul, both of which called for tougher action against Bashar Assad's government.