Syrian activists say regime forces are clashing with opposition fighters in three suburbs of the capital Damascus, less than a week before an internationally sponsored ceasefire is to go into effect.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Syrian troops conducted raids on Friday in the Damascus suburbs of Saqba and Douma following overnight clashes between regime forces and Army defectors in Saqba and the suburb of Arbeen. It says three members of the military were killed.

Activists say troops have set a home in Saqba on fire.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that Syria fighting is escalating. Opposition activists say the regime is trying to gain ground before the ceasefire, which is to go into effect on Tuesday.

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