An official military source said on Thursday that 78 soldiers and 70 civilians had been killed in Syria since the unrest broke out six weeks ago, Syrian Arab News Agency SANA reported, according to Xinhua.

The source dismissed allegations made on some satellite TV channels about the withdrawal of some members of the ruling Bath party and it also denied reports that 450 people were killed since the unrest erupted, calling it "poison of false propaganda."

Army units are still pursuing remnants of the "extremist terrorist groups" in the southern province of Daraa to restore calm to the city, it said.

In the meantime, the Syrian ministry of interior called on citizens not to demonstrate or protest without a formal approval.

Daraa has been the flashpoint of more than five weeks of protests in Syria amid mounting calls for sweeping reforms. The government has made many gestures to quell the protests and blamed the rising violence on armed thugs and foreign conspiracy.