An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube shows a Syrians mourning next to the body of Ziad Abdul Latif, killed on November 30, 2011 according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in the flashpoint northwestern province of Idlib near the Turkish border. Human Rights Watch says dozens of Syrian military commanders and officials authorised or gave direct orders for widespread killings, torture, and illegal arrests Image Credit: AFP

Beirut: A surge in violence in the restive Syrian city of Homs has killed up to 50 people in the past 24 hours, leaving dozens of bodies in the streets, activists said Tuesday.

The British Syrian Observatory for Human Rights cited witnesses as saying 34 bodies were dumped in the streets of Homs on Monday night. Homs-based activist Mohammad Saleh said there was a spate of kidnappings and killings in the city earlier Monday.


It was earlier reported that 34 Syrians abducted by pro-regime "shabiha" militiamen on Monday had been found dead in the flashpoint central city of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The British watchdog said an activist on the ground reported seeing "the bodies of 34 civilians, in a square in the pro-regime neighbourhood of Al Zahra, who had been abducted by the shabiha on Monday."

The civilians, it said, had been seized from several "anti-regime neighbourhoods" in Homs, which has been targeted by a brutal crackdown on almost nine months of anti-regime dissent.

The Observatory also reported the so-called "shabiha" abducted on Monday a bus driver and his 13 passengers in Homs province.

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad have laid siege to Homs for the past two months.

Seven people were reported killed in the city and province on Monday by gunfire from the security forces, the Observatory said, after a bloody weekend that saw 63 people dead, at least half of them in Homs.

Elsewhere on Monday, mutinous soldiers killed four members of the security forces, including an officer, at the southern protest hub of Dael in Daraa province, the Observatory said.

A regime truck was also set ablaze during Monday's attack, the Observatory said, adding hundreds of Syrian forces deployed in Dael, where raids and arrests were under way.

Daraa is the cradle of the protests which erupted in mid-March in Syria, one of the most autocratic Arab nations. UN estimates say more than 4,000 people have been killed across the country in the government crackdown.

The Observatory also accused security forces of arresting 18 students on Monday, eight of them for insulting the president.
The students in Jabla, in western Syria, were "accused of insulting President Assad," it said, adding the allegations were made by "informants" at the school.
The other 10 were arrested near Damascus for joining an anti-regime protest in the district of Harasta, the Observatory said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Centre for Media and Free Expression said the authorities arrested blogger Razan Ghazzawi at the border with Jordan as she headed to Amman on Sunday to represent them at a workshop on press freedom.

Also on Monday, the Observatory reported that pro-regime students and security forces harassed university students in the coastal city of Latakia.

The watchdog also said 30 students from Daraa studying at Latakia's Tishrin University were detained, and another 60 were expelled.

It did not say when the arrests occurred but stressed "that these students were threatened by their peers, subjected to pressure, abuse and insults over sectarian loyalties."

The latest reports of bloodshed and arrests come as the foreign ministry said it has "responded positively" to a request by the Arab League to allow in observers as part of a peace plan to end the unrest.