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Iran has opposed any foreign intervention in the crisis, and Mr. Salehi insisted that “change in Syria” should come under the leadership of Mr. Assad.

In recent weeks, the Syrian government has escalated military attacks on opposition strongholds, particularly after the cease-fire timeline was announced at the beginning of April, prompting accusations that Mr. Assad was using the peace plan as cover for more violence.

On Wednesday, Syrian troops took control of parts of villages and towns near the border with Turkey, in an apparent attempt to widen control as the truce draws close.

Activist Mohammed Abu Nasr said Syrian forces entered the border town of Azaz, about two miles from the Turkish border and set homes of activists on fire.

The Local Coordination Committees, an activist network, said heavy army reinforcements of 30 vehicles, including tanks, took positions around Azaz, without giving further details. The group said that in the province of Idlib, which also borders Turkey, Syrian troops had chased people trying to flee the country into Turkey and opened fire, killing two and detaining four.

The LCC also reported the shelling of several rebel-held neighborhoods in the central city of Homs.

Homs activist Tarek Badrakhan said troops shelled the Rajoub Mall, one of the city’s largest, late Tuesday. An amateur video posted online showed the six-story building gutted by fire, while a major part of it collapsed. As the building was on fire, gunshots could be heard.

Mr. Badrakhan said the shopping center in the rebel-held neighborhood of Jouret el-Shayah had shops selling clothes, food products and electrical appliances.

“They shelled it for a long time until it totally collapsed,” Mr. Badrakhan said.

SANA, meanwhile, said gunmen shot and killed army Brig. Gen. Jamal Khaled in the Damascus suburb of Aqraba on Wednesday morning. It added that Gen. Khaled’s driver, a soldier, also was killed in the attack.

In other violence, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group reported clashes in the Barada Valley region on the outskirts of Damascus between troops and army defectors as government forces stormed the area. The Observatory said dozens of people were wounded.

The Observatory said “tens of army vehicles” were deploying in the southern town of Maaraba. The rights group also added that two people were killed in the eastern town of Qoriah during raids by regime force.

In neighboring Jordan, an Interior Ministry official said the country now is hosting 95,000 Syrian refugees who had fled the conflict. The official spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to make statements to the media.

Associated Press writers Ali Akbar Dareini in Tehran, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.