Deadly clashes in central Syria and an ambush on a bus transporting soldiers near Damascus claimed at least 15 lives on Saturday, according to activists and state media reports. Soldiers clashed with deserters in the restive central town of Rastan in Homs province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based watchdog, told Agence France Presse three deserters were killed in Rastan's fighting, while five soldiers were killed in similar clashes in nearby al-Hula, also in Homs province. The Observatory also reported fierce clashes in the outskirts of Damascus as security forces backed by tanks raided the towns of Saqba, Hamuriyeh, Jisrin and Erbin. There was no immediate word on casualties in these areas. Meanwhile, an ambush on a bus traveling near the rebel stronghold of Douma, just north of Damascus, left seven Syrian soldiers dead, the official SANA news agency reported, blaming the attack on a "terrorist group."