DAMASCUS, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The daily grind of violence continued in Syria Tuesday, a snub to all political efforts to solve Syria's 16-month-old crisis.
Syrian forces clashed with armed opposition fighters in the central province of Homs Tuesday, killing an unspecified number of armed men, state-run SANA news agency said, adding that the authorities have stormed hideouts of armed men and confiscated large quantities of weapons.
The Syrian troops also confronted armed groups in several other areas, according to SANA.
Meanwhile, the oppositional activists' network Local Coordination Committees reported shelling form the Syrian forces on opposition strongholds, mainly in areas of the southern province of Daraa, the cradle of the anti-government movement in Syria.
It said at least 56 people were killed Tuesday nationwide.
Another opposition network, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said more than 50 people were killed Tuesday in several areas, including suburbs of the capital Damascus, northern Aleppo, eastern Deir al-Zour, and central Homs, and 18 of them were allegedly members of the Syrian army and security forces.
It also said six of the killed were armed rebels, while the rest of the 50 were civilians.
The opposition's account could not be independently checked.
In a bid to end the Syrian crisis, a fresh UN-brokered plan was adopted in Geneva Saturday, calling for establishing a transitional government that includes members of the current administration and the opposition. The new plan did not stipulate the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Despite the new plan, foreign ministers of Germany and France said Tuesday that Assad should leave and "the sooner he leaves the better."
In a recent interview, Assad said his country is at a state of civil war and accused the West of backing the armed groups in Syria in order to impose a regime change.
The Syrian forces and the armed opposition on ground have been at each other's throats recently, with armed fighters undertaking guerrilla-style attacks on army and security bases, while the Syrian administration has decided to flush the existence of armed elements once and for all and unleashed a large-scale military " cleansing" campaign in the rebellious areas.
The military operation started 10 days ago in the restive suburbs of Damascus. Sounds of shelling and gunshots have become daily occurrences, particularly in the early morning and at night.
Syria defends its crackdown, saying that foreign-backed extremists are fighting on its soil. The government has provided names of foreign fighters that have recently been arrested, mainly Tunisians with affiliations to al-Qaida.