Syrian opposition figure and prominent Syrian human rights activist Haytham al-Maleh, left, congratulates Muslim cleric Mouaz al-Khatib after he was elected president of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, in Doha.

Beirut - The Syrian National Council (SNC) on Wednesday criticized a proposal by the head of the main opposition group to negotiate with President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Moaz al-Khatib, the head of the main opposition National Coalition, last week offered to talk with al-Assad regime officials on condition that opposition detainees were released.

The SNC said the offer contradicted the coalition's charter, which calls for the downfall of the regime.

Al-Khatib's supporters say his surprise call was made for humanitarian reasons and is an attempt to end Syria's 22-month conflict, which has claimed at least 60,000 lives.

In January, al-Assad said he was ready for talks with the opposition but ruled out meetings with groups calling for his departure.

In Cairo, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi urged the Syrian opposition to be ready for undertaking “full political responsibility” to institute political change in the country.

“The ruling system in Syria should read history and be aware of its eternal lesson: those who give precedence to their personal interests over those of their people are undoubtedly doomed,” Morsi told an Islamic summit attended by Iran, Damascus' staunch ally.

Morsi has repeatedly demanded al-Assad to step down.

He said Wednesday that Egypt was fully backing the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, headquartered in Cairo.

On the ground in Syria, at least 19 government soldiers were killed in attacks targeting military intelligence and security offices in the centre of the country, said activists.

“Two men donated car bombs in front of al-Baadiya intelligence and security headquarters in Palmyra,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.

Palmyra, a World Heritage site famous for Roman ruins, is in the restive province of Homs.

The watchdog added that ensuing fighting outside the facilities injured at least eight civilians.

The ancient city, once a major tourist attraction, has been affected by the conflict between al-Assad's troops and opposition rebels fighting to oust him.

Elsewhere, the army was stepping up a campaign on areas held by radical rebel groups, mainly the Jihadist al-Nusra Front, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus and the northern province of Aleppo, a military government source and activists told dpa.

The army had sent heavy reinforcements to the areas where al-Nusra is believed to have strongholds, said Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the observatory.

Syrian television said the army had carried out several operations

in suburban Damascus, inflicting heavy losses upon what it called “terrorists.”

Al-Nusra is described by military observers as “the most aggressive arm” of rebel forces in Syria.

The United States has labeled the group as a terrorist organization. - Sapa-dpa