More than 70 Syrians died in a single day yesterday, many of them soldiers killed at the hands of army defectors in Daraa, activists tell the AP. The bloody wave was also felt in Homs, where the morgue had taken in 19 bullet-riddled corpses. Witnesses on the ground in Daraa reported four hours of heavy gunfire and at least 12 civilian deaths, while a British group said it had counted 34 dead soldiers. "I saw two army armored personnel carriers, totally burnt," says one witness.
The violence comes as the uprising has spawned an armed branch that has targeted Bashar al-Assad's forces, which have conducted a crackdown that the UN says has resulted in 3,500 deaths so far. But the tide continues to turn against Assad, with Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan denouncing him as among the regimes that "feed on blood." Jordanian King Abdullah II yesterday called for Assad to step down. (Read more Homs stories.)