BEIRUT, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The death toll from an attack by Syrian forces in the northern province of Idlib on Tuesday has risen to at least 56, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday.
The British-based group said it had documented the names of 56 "citizens and wanted activists" who were killed, but that dozens more may have died. The Observatory's Rami Abdulrahman said one activist in the area reported 121 bodies had been taken to local hospitals.
Events in Syria are difficult to verify because the government has banned most independent reporting.
The latest violence comes ahead of an Arab League monitoring mission to verify Syria's implementation of a plan to end the bloodshed. The first officials are due Damascus on Thursday and monitors should arrive by the end of the month, the League says.
At least 5,000 people have been killed in President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on protests which erupted in March, according to the United Nations human rights chief.
Syria says it is fighting foreign-backed armed groups who have killed more than 1,100 security force members. (Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by Peter Graff)