Syrian rebels killed during the past weekend at least 80 soldiers by intensifying attacks against army checkpoints and conducting clashes with forces loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the opposition said Monday. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) said it was informed by the rebels that fighting units had destroyed tanks and killed more than 100 soldiers from Damascus to Idlib, in northern Syria. The SOHR said it was able to confirm names of 80 dead.
At Monday dawn, fierce fighting erupted between army and insurgents in the province of Idlib in which two rebels were killed, according to SOHR. On Sunday, 46 people - 19 civilians, 19 soldiers and eight rebels were killed in the violence, according to NGO.
As the deadly fighting continued between soldiers and rebels Monday, European leaders tried in St. Petersburg to persuade Moscow to curb its support for the Syrian regime. Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed any new UN sanctions against the regime as well as the departure of Mr. Assad, as demanded by the EU and the U.S..
Meanwhile, according to diplomats and experts, international mediator Kofi Annan begins to accept the failure of his peace plan. He suggested that his efforts had reached their limits on Saturday by claiming in an Arab ministerial meeting in Doha, that a "fundamental review" of the strategy to end the crisis is needed.
Annan will speak Thursday in New York at the UN Security Council.