Killings continued in Syria Monday as the European Union ratcheted up sanctions against Damascus in an effort to stop the slaughter.
At the latest meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels, the EU imposed a 15th round of sanctions against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Visa bans and asset freezes were levied against three more Assad associates, bringing to 128 the number of government supporters affected by the sanctions.
In addition, two more Syrian entities were added to the sanctions list, said EU spokesman Michael Mann. A total of 43 Syrian banks, companies and other entities are banned by the EU.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told reporters at least 33 people were reported killed on Monday.
These included 23 soldiers killed in clashes in the central Syrian province of Homs, in rebel-held Rastan city. Three troop carriers were destroyed as well, the organization said, adding that Syrian troops had shelled the city the day before, and resumed the shelling after the clashes had ceased.
A former Syrian army lieutenant who defected also died in the fighting, along with three other rebel fighters and two civilians in the nearby city of Homs.
Three civilians were killed by government gunfire in southern Dera'a province, including a child. A 15-year-old boy was also killed with machine gunfire by regime forces in eastern Deir Ezzor province, in the city of Quraya.
Last Thursday, 55 people died and more than 370 were wounded in a set of massive bombing attacks in Damascus that Russia insisted was the work of the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization. In direct defiance of most of its colleagues in the United Nations, Russia has stood by Syria and vowed to continue to supply the regime with what it called “defensive” arms.
The United Nations has estimated that close to 10,000 civilians have died in the growing civil war that was sparked by last year's region-wide Arab Spring uprisings.