BEIRUT (Reuters) - Fourteen people were killed in shooting in two Syrian towns Thursday, an activist group said, most of them in clashes between troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and gunmen believed to be army defectors.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said six soldiers and two army deserters were killed in fighting in the southern town of Haara, as well as one civilian. In the northern town of Binish, five civilians were killed after troops entered the town firing machine guns.

(by Dominic Evans)