Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is said to be in the coastal city of Latakia, reportedly organising a response to the assassination of three of his senior leaders.
The news comes from opposition sources and a Western diplomat, and was announced after a surge in violence in the city of Damascus.
Overnight clashes on Thursday continued into the morning, with violence being reported near the government headquarters in the capital.
According to activists and residents, rebels have attacked forces loyal to President Assad, who have deployed armoured vehicles and increased roadblocks across the city.
At least one person was reported killed in the fighting in the Ikhlas neighbourhood, adjacent to the Council of Ministers, and a Damascus University campus.
President Assad has not made a public appearance since a bomb on Wednesday which killed his brother-in-law and two key military figures.
It was not clear whether Assad travelled to the Mediterranean sea resort before or after the attack.