111 dead in Syria's largest one day bloodletting to date

The cynicism of President Assad is breathtaking. Just days before a group of Arab League observers are scheduled to enter Syria and monitor Assad's compliance with the "peace plan" worked out, Syrian forces massacred 111 civilians according to the usually reliable Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The opposition Syrian National Council pleaded for help while another 100 army deserters died fighting Syrian security forces. This makes yesterday the bloodiest single day of the revolt so far.


Syrian forces killed 111 people ahead of the start of a mission to monitor President Bashar al-Assad's implementation of an Arab League peace plan, activists said on Wednesday, and France branded the killings an "unprecedented massacre."

Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 111 civilians and activists were killed in addition to over 100 casualties among army deserters in Idlib province, turning Tuesday into the "bloodiest day of the Syrian revolution."

"There was a massacre of an unprecedented scale in Syria on Tuesday," said French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero. "It is urgent that the U.N. Security Council issues a firm resolution that calls for an end to the repression."

The main opposition Syrian National Council demanded international action to protect civilians.

The escalating death toll in nine months of popular unrest has raised the specter of civil war in Syria with Assad, 46, still trying to stamp out protests with troops and tanks despite international sanctions imposed to push him onto a reform path.

There is still a question where the Arab League monitors will be able to observe and where they will be prevented from going. An educated guess would be that there will be no observers where Assad's forces are likely to continue their massacres. This would include the city of Homs, which is in open revolt, and Hama, which is a stronghold of the defector force, the Free Syrian Army.

Upping the body count before the observers are in place is about what we've come to expect from President Assad.