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The 22-member Arab League also has suspended Syria’s membership and leveled economic and diplomatic sanctions.

The White House warned Damascus that additional steps will be taken to pressure Mr. Assad’s regime if the Arab League initiative is not  implemented fully.

In Paris, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said that “everything must be done to stop this murderous spiral into which Bashar Assad is leading his people more every day.” He added, “It is urgent that the U.N. Security Council pass a firm resolution demanding the end to this repression.”

The German government’s human rights commissioner, Markus Loening, called for an immediate end to violence against deserters and demonstrators.

“It is dreadful to see how Bashar Assad and his helpers are clinging onto power and trampling on the Syrian population’s wish for dignity and freedom,” Mr. Loening said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that “it is unacceptable” that so many people were killed, even after Mr. Assad’s regime agreed to an Arab League plan to halt the bloodshed.

Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, described the attack as “brutal massacres and genocide” and said the group has sent messages to members of the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency meeting on Syria. The SNC also urged the international community in a statement for international protection of the Syrian people.

Mr. Assad’s regime agreed to allow the monitoring mission after Arab leaders warned they would turn to the U.N. Security Council to try to end the crackdown.

The Syrian conflict, which began with peaceful protests in March, has become increasingly militarized in recent weeks, with clashes nearly every day between troops and army defectors who have joined the movement against Mr. Assad. Idlib province has witnessed some of the most intense clashes. The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have died in unrest since March.

On Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces shot dead three people in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani and one in the northern town of Saraqeb. It added that troops stormed the town of Dael in the southern province of Daraa, wounding dozens of people. The LCC said 12 people were killed Wednesday, five of them in the central province of Hama.

Activists said this bloody crackdown may be an attempt by the regime to crush defectors before the monitors arrive in the country. On Monday, security forces killed up to 70 army defectors as they were deserting their military posts in Idlib near the Turkish border, activists said.

“The regime is trying to control the situation before the Arab League sends its observers, but it’s over. The regime will go,” Mr. Abdul-Rahman said.

Mr. Abdul-Rahman corroborated the account of the witness in Kfar Owaid. He said troops on the outskirts of the village surrounded and fired on crowds of civilians and activists trying to flee out of fear they would be detained. The activist group, which uses a network of local activists to collect information on the crackdown, said 111 were killed in Kfar Owaid on Tuesday.

The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, also said more than 100 people were killed. The accounts could not be independently confirmed because Syria has banned most foreign journalists and places heavy restrictions on the work of local reporters.

In Damascus, the Iranian Embassy said Wednesday that five Iranian engineers who work at an electricity station in the central Syrian city of Homs had been kidnapped. It said the engineers were kidnapped Tuesday in the restive city, which has witnessed intense anti-regime activities.