Idlib Under Fire
Idlib Under FireReuters

Syrian troops committed another massacre in Idlib on Monday, murdering 55 people as President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown shifts into high gear.

Focal points of unrest such as Idlib, Rastan, and Homs have all been subjected to intense artillery and sniper fire in recent weeks. 

The lastest massacre comes one day after the Syrian regime killed at least 47 women and children in a massacre in the Karm al-Zeitoun neighborhood in Homs.

Activists said that death toll from Monday’s violent crackdown on protesters topped 114 people, mostly in Homs and Idlib.

al-Arabiya reported scores of tanks were deployed in and around Damascus  as troops loyal to Assad launched a crackdown in the al-Assaly neighborhood.

Assad's brutal year-long bid to end a popular uprising against his regime has resulted in at least 7,500 civilians dead and tens of thousands arrested.

Reports of systemic rape and torture of political prisoners, and mass summary executions, have become the norm in Syria.

Meanwhile, Western diplomats clashed with Russia at the United Nations Security Council over Syria.

Russia has consistently shielded Damascus, its last Arab ally with whom its does billions of dollars in trade annually, from condemnation and sanctions by the world body.

The most recent flare up came after Russia abjectly refused to halt arms sales to Syria despite the reports of massacres by Assad's forces.

Also Monday, a spokesman for the Syrian National Council called on foreign powers to intervene and said the opposition group had already set up a bureau to send arms to the rebels with the help of foreign governments.

“We demand military intervention by Arab and Western countries to protect civilians,” George Sabra of the SNC told reporters in Istanbul.

“We demand establishment of secured humanitarian corridors and zones to protect the civilians," Sabra said. "We demand implementation of a no-fly zone over entire Syria to prevent Assad from continuing massacres.”