He said the airstrikes sought to compensate for recent regime losses on the ground.
Muhieddine Lathkani, a London-based member of the Syrian National Council opposition group, said the air attacks were a result of the regime's "total despair" and reflected the military's inability to recapture rebel areas.
Among the hardest hit areas was the northern town of Maaret al-Numan, which rebels seized earlier this month only to face heavy retaliation from the military. Amateur videos posted online Monday showed dozens of men combing through huge swaths of rubble, occasionally finding wounded people covered in cement dust and carrying them off for treatment.
Other videos showed fighter jets screaming through the sky and dropping bombs over Damascus suburbs including Yabroud, Hazza and Harasta.
Videos from the poor neighborhood of Hajar al-Aswad in south Damascus showed what activists said were people killed by regime shelling. One video showed a dead family of five, all wrapped in blankets. Others showed three dead bodies in a small bus and the bodies of two young children laid out on a floor.
Activist videos could not be independently verified due to reporting restrictions in Syria, but they appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting on the events depicted.
Also Monday, a car bomb exploded in the Damascus suburb of Jarmana, knocking balconies off of residential buildings and sending firemen rushing to fight the blaze, according to TV footage. The state news agency SANA said 11 people were killed and 67 wounded. The Observatory said five people were killed.
SANA also reported a second car bomb in the area later Monday but did not give a number of the dead and wounded.
In Turkey, about 150 members of the Syrian opposition met Monday to discuss how to manage rebel-held areas and plan for a post-Assad future.