At least 20 more deaths were reported on Monday from intense shelling by government forces in the center of the country, just hours before the monitoring teams were to arrive. Activists said at least 275 civilians have been killed by government forces in the past week and another 150 people died in clashes between army defectors and regime troops — most of them defectors.
The stepped up crackdown, including what activists said was a "massacre" in one town where 110 people were mowed down in several hours last week, brought a new round of international condemnation of Syria. Neighboring Turkey said the violence flew in the face of the Arab League deal that Syria signed and raises doubts about the regime’s true intentions.
The Arab League plan agreed to by Assad requires the government to remove its security forces and heavy weapons from city streets, start talks with opposition leaders and allow human rights workers and journalists into the country. The monitors are supposed to ensure compliance, but so far there is no sign that Assad is implementing any of the terms, much less letting up on the brutal crackdown.