UNITED NATIONS - The violence in Syria is getting worse as the military steps up assaults on civilian centers and the opposition increasingly turns to coordinated attacks on Syrian government forces, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office said on Monday.

"The secretary-general expresses his deep concern at the dangerous intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past several days, and the grave danger facing civilians in areas under fire," Ban's press office said in a statement. "The bloodshed and fighting must stop at once."

It said unarmed UN observers in Syria have reported an increased level of armed clashes between government and rebel forces.

"The government's intensive military operations, including the shelling of Homs and reportedly other population centers, as well as firing from helicopters on Talbiseh and Rastan, are resulting in heavy civilian casualties and human rights violations," the statement said.

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