69 killed in Syria on Monday alone

Assad's answer to the Arab League's suspension of Syria: Reuters:

At least 69 people were killed in southern Syria on Monday, most of them in clashes between army deserters and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, activists said on Tuesday.

The violence came as Syria faces growing international isolation following the Arab League's decision to suspend its membership in response to Assad's crackdown on eight months of protests calling for his overthrow.

Hundreds of people have been killed so far this month, making it one of the bloodiest periods of the Syrian protests, inspired by uprisings which have overthrown leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

The Syrian Organization for Human Rights said 34 soldiers and members of Syrian security forces were killed in clashes with suspected army deserters who attacked military vehicles in the southern province on Monday.

Video footage broadcast by Al Jazeera television showed what appeared to be a tank engulfed in flames, alongside other burning vehicles.

At least 12 of the attackers were also killed, the British-based Observatory said, while another 23 people were killed in "gunfire from security and military checkpoints" in southern villages.

A tipping point may be coming with the number of deserters rising and their slow, but steady organizing leading to more effective attacks on Assad's forces.

But they are still a long way to becoming an army. And most deserters apparently flee the country into Turkey or Lebanon, giving up on the military altogether.

A meeting of opposition parties will be held on Wednesday to try and formulate a plan to bring about Assad's downfall. It won't happen without military force and it won't happen soon. But we might look back after Assad is gone and realize that this move by the Arab League and subsequent show of strength by the deserters was the beginning of the end for the Syrian dictator.