Violence continued in Syria on Wednesday with government forces shelling the opposition dominated town of Rastan, according to opposition forces.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the forces of President Bashar al-Assad pounded Rastan in the early morning, adding that at least six people have been killed in other parts of the country on Wednesday.

The reported killings came as the Free Syrian Army denied it was behind the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims in northern Syria on Tuesday.

The Shiites were on their way back from a pilgrimage in Iran, when they were ambushed in Syria's Aleppo province, according to Hezbollah's Manar Television station, the AP reported.

A group of women also on the pilgrimage were released on Tuesday.

The Lebanese foreign minister said on Wednesday the remaining hostages would be freed soon -- he did not add which group was holding the women.

Our information is that, God willing, the Lebanese will be released very soon, Adnan Mansour told Reuters.

We can't say who is conducting the negotiations, but the matter is ongoing and, God willing, we're going to reach a positive result.

The latest cross-border incident has once again raised the threat of the 15-month-old Syrian uprising spreading to other parts of the Middle East.

Last week, violence between supporters and opponents of Assad erupted in the Lebanese port city of Tripoli, leaving two dead and 20 injured.

Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, has been an ardent supporter of the beleaguered Assad, a member of the minority Shiite, Alawite sect.

Elsewhere, Syrian oil minister Sufian Allaw said Wednesday that international sanctions against the Assad regime had cost his country $4 billion.

He added the sanctions, levied by the U.S. and EU, had left Syrians without power and having to stand in long lines for cooking oil and other essentials.