At least 72 people, the majority of them civilians, were killed across Syria, a watchdog has said, adding that a mother and her five children kidnapped earlier this week were also found dead.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights yesterday said the northern province of Aleppo had seen some of the worst violence as regime forces pounded several villages killing 19 people, including 13 women and children.
"The corpses of a woman and her five children kidnapped on Monday night were found in the village of Qustal Mukhtar" in Aleppo province, the Britain-based group said.
It added that among Tuesday's dead nationwide were 24 regime troops, including an officer. In the central province of Homs, where several districts are under siege, 18 people were killed, including in rebel bastions Khalidiyeh, Rastan and Qusayr, the monitoring group said.
In Damascus province, a man from Homs died while he was being tortured by the security forces, the Observatory added. In eastern Deir Ezzor, 13 people died after regime forces pounded Jbeibla on Monday night, the Observatory said today.
The Syrian National Council, the main opposition coalition, denounced the shelling by government forces as "savage" and accused the regime of "blindly slaughtering" civilians, including women and children.
The escalation in violence came as UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous warned that the country was in civil war. According to the Observatory, more than 14,100 people have died in Syria since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime broke out in March last year.