BEIRUT - Syria's army fired mortar bombs at major cities on Saturday killing 16 people, activists said, as world powers gathered in Geneva to try to resolve the conflict.

Live stream video footage posted by opposition activists in the eastern desert city of Deir al-Zor showed smoke rising from apartment blocks as continuous explosions rang out.

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Activists also reported shelling in Homs, Idlib and the outskirts of Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that government shelling and heavy clashes between the army and members of the rebel Free Syrian Army in opposition strongholds have killed 16 people so far on Saturday.