The opposition accused Syrian forces Friday of storming villages to chase down and kill soldiers who defected, while President Bashar al-Assad's government claimed the attacks targeted "terrorists" carrying Israeli-made weapons used to kill civilians.
The virulent see-saw allegations of atrocities in the hard-hit western province of Hama come as world leaders and humanitarian organizations rankle over how to staunch a crisis that has left thousands dead.
By early Friday morning, at least two people had been killed in fighting, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition rights group. That followed news Thursday that at least 62 people were killed, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition network.
Opposition groups urged thousands Friday to take to the streets in Syria as part of weekly anti-government protests, which have been routinely targeted by security forces since they first began a year ago. Al-Assad's brutal crackdown on demonstrations calling for political reforms led to an uprising demanding the ouster of the regime.
Al-Assad has denied opposition claims of killing civilians, saying his forces are targeting terrorists and foreign fighters.