These houses are said to have been bombed by Syrian aircraft
Chinese state media have accused US President Barack Obama of planning to use Syria's chemical weapons as an excuse for intervening militarily.
The state news agency, Xinhua, was responding to a warning from Mr Obama that Syria would be crossing a "red line" if tried to use such weapons.
"Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily," it said.
China and Russia have blocked attempts to impose UN sanctions on Syria.
Xinhua's commentary is not an official statement but it reflects fears among China's communist leaders that the West wants regime change in Syria under the guise of humanitarian action, the BBC's Damian Grammaticas reports from Beijing.
Syrian opposition activists say at least eight people have been killed in an offensive by the Syrian military on opposition-held areas of the capital, Damascus. The report could not be verified independently.
Opposition activists say more than 20,000 people - mostly civilians - have died since the uprising against Mr Assad began last year.
The Assad regime's chemical weapons concern President Obama
Earlier this week, President Obama said any use of chemical weapons by Syria would change his thinking on intervention in the crisis.
"There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons," he said.
In its commentary, Xinhua criticised the remarks as "dangerously irresponsible" and said they would aggravate the conflict, reducing the chances of a political settlement.
It argued that "foreign crusades" by Western nations would simply lead to more violence and hatred in Syria, pointing to the examples of other interventions in Somalia, Iraq and Libya.
China insists a ceasefire and UN-led mediation remain the best ways to end Syria's woes.
Russia believes Syria has no intention of using its chemical weapons and is able to safeguard them, a foreign ministry source in Moscow told Russia's Kommersant newspaper.
A "confidential dialogue" with the Syrian government on the security of the arsenal has convinced Russia "the Syrian authorities do not intend to use these weapons and are capable of keeping them under control themselves", the unnamed source said.
Tank assaultResidents in Damascus said Wednesday's attack had been the heaviest since the army re-asserted its control of Damascus last month.
An aerial bombardment preceded an assault by tanks on the neighbourhood of Kfar Soussa.
Syrian government aircraft also reportedly launched air strikes in the northern city of Aleppo.
According to a count by the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 198 people were killed in fighting in Syria on Tuesday. The figure could not be verified independently.
Article Source : BBC News
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