Hama shelled again; 23 dead across Syria

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - a source generally acknowledged as accurate - puts the death toll since the "cease fire" began last month at more than 1,000.

Add 23 to that number today:

Terror gripped cities across Syria on Sunday as residents came under attack by shelling and gunfire, opposition activists said.

Many homes caught fire as Syrian forces stormed Hama, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. At least eight people were killed in the western city, according to Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition network.

Explosions were also heard near the southern city of Douma and near a government security branch in the eastern Deir Ezzor province, the observatory said.

The Syrian conflict has also heightened historic tensions across the border in Tripoli, Lebanon, where at least one Lebanese civilian and one Lebanese soldier were killed Sunday in clashes between factions supporting and opposing the uprising in Syria, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

The fighting in Lebanon took place between residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh, a Sunni stronghold hostile to the Syrian regime, and Alawite residents of Jabal Mohsen who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Inside Syria's borders, the crisis is getting more complicated.

A video purportedly released by a shadowy, Syrian-based terrorist group claimed responsibility Saturday for dual suicide bombings that killed dozens and wounded hundreds in the country's capital last week.

The two-minute video, apparently by jihadist group Al Nusra Front, says government buildings were targeted "because the regime continues to shell residential civilians in Damascus countryside, Idlib, Hama, Daraa and other areas. And we remained true to our promise to respond to this shelling with strikes."

There are still questions about just how independent that terrorist group actually is. Opposition members say they are a tool of the government. The government says they are in cohoots with the opposition. Either scenario is possible in the chaos that is growing worse by the week despite the growing presence of UN monitors who are supposed to enforce the cease fire.

The clash in Lebanon is not the first between pro and anti-Assad factions. The Hezb-allah led government favors Assad while the Sunni opposition mostly favors the Syrian National Council. The Christians are split, but a majority go along with the Sunnis. This is a recipe for civil war - a prospect that Assad may want to encourage to take the heat off his own regime.