Syrian activists have reported a new massacre in the central Hama province, saying government forces killed more than 200 people in shelling and other attacks.
There were few details of attack on Traimseh village, which was reported late on Thursday by several activist groups.
A statement by the Hama Revolutionary Council said: “More than 220 people fell today in Traimseh. They died from bombardment by tanks and helicopters, artillery shelling and summary executions.”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was aware more than 100 were killed from sources on the ground, but the group had only confirmed the names of 30 people so far.
Syrian television said three security personnel had been killed in fighting in the village and accused “armed terrorist groups” of committing a massacre there.
Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Traimseh, said he had left the town before the reported massacre but was in touch with residents.
“It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Traimseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people. Whole houses have been destroyed and burned from the shelling.
“Every family in the town seems to have members killed. We have names of men, women and children from countless families,” he said, adding that many of the bodies were taken to a local mosque.
‘Whole families killed’
Ahmed, an activist from the Union of Hama Revolutionaries said: “We have reports of more than 220 killed. So far, we have 20 victims recorded with names and 60 bodies at a mosque. There are more bodies in the fields, bodies in the rivers and in houses … people were trying to flee from the time the shelling started and whole families were killed trying to escape.”
The reports could not be independently confirmed.
“We’re hearing from activists that it started at 5am this morning, when the village was surrounded by government forces and pro-government militias,” said Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut.
“Bodies were found of people killed by knives, and some bodies burnt,” our correspondent said. “But exactly what happened is still not very clear.”
“The activists are telling us this is a village surrounded by pro-government villages in the countryside of Hama. The government does acknowledge there was fighting in that area, but they don’t talk about a massacre.”
If the accounts are accurate, the incident would be the worst of its kind in the rebellion against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad that began 16 months ago.