Security forces pursuing anti-government activists and army defectors shot dead at least 47 people in Syria today, pushing the toll for two days of violence to nearly 150 even as the regime prepared to allow in foreign monitors under an Arab League plan aimed at stopping the bloodshed. Syrian state television showed pictures of military maneuvers and said they were meant to show its forces are ready to "repulse any aggression the enemies of our nations might think about."
Activist groups said about 100 people were killed yesterday, the same day Syria agreed to the monitors after weeks of stalling. About 70 of the dead were said to be army defectors. The groups said today's toll was at least 47 and possibly as high as 62. The opposition is skeptical that the agreement to allow the monitors in is anything other than stalling for time as international pressure on President Bashar Assad grows. The huge toll for two days of violence, among the highest since March, has reinforced that skepticism. (Read more Syria stories.)