At least 40 Syrians were killed in fighting on Monday between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and insurgents in a town near the border with Jordan, local activists said, in the first case of major armed resistance to Assad in the region.
They said troops backed by armor killed 20 people - army defectors, insurgents and civilians - in an assault on Khirbet Ghazaleh in the Hauran Plain, and in fighting that ensued near.
Elsewhere, at least 16 civilians and 19 members of the regime's forces were killed in the Syrian town of Deraa, a previous focal point of anti-Assad resistance.
Meanwhile, Syria has called for an emergency Arab League summit in an apparent effort to forestall its suspension.
People were bound and shot in Homs (Photo: AFP)
Nabil Elaraby, the organization's secretary general, said he had delivered the request to rulers of Arab League states and 15 members would have to approve in order to hold a summit, according to Egypt's state news agency MENA.
500-strong fact-finding committee
The League's suspension is a particularly bitter blow for Assad who has always seen himself as a champion of Arab unity. But adding to the injury, the Cairo-based League plans to meet Syrian dissident groups on Tuesday.
Even so, Elaraby said on Sunday it was too soon to consider recognizing the Syrian opposition as the country's legitimate authority.
Elaraby met representatives of Arab civil society groups on Monday and agreed to send a 500-strong fact-finding committee, including military personnel, to Syria as part of efforts to end the crackdown on demonstrators and dissenters.
"Syria agreed to receive the committee," said Ibrahim al-Zafarani, of the Arab Medical Union.
AFP contributed to the story