Syrian rebels stormed an army barracks in the north-west province of Latakia and killed at least 20 soldiers loyal to President Bashar al Assad, an activist group said yesterday.

The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels had captured soldiers, including a colonel, and seized machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Latakia, a Mediterranean coastal province and home to Syria's main port, was relatively free of conflict until the past month. Recent weeks have seen a surge in rebel attacks on tanks and army checkpoints.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it was preparing to evacuate wounded and trapped civilians from the city of Homs after both sides agreed to its request for a temporary pause in fighting.

World leaders aired their differences over the conflict at the G20 summit in Los Cabos.

US President Barack Obama said Mr Assad had lost all legitimacy and that it was impossible to conceive of any solution to the violence that left him in power.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin said: "We believe nobody has the right to decide for other nations who should be brought to power, who should be removed from power."