Syrian rebels have killed at least 11 people, including civilians, in an attack on a checkpoint west of the city of Homs.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that nine of those killed in the attack on Saturday were Christians.
It said rebels attacked checkpoints manned by the pro-government National Defense Forces militia, killing five of them. It said the other six were civilians, including two women.
A resident who visited the site of the overnight attack said he saw the remains of a destroyed checkpoint and two civilian cars nearby, whose passengers may have been caught up by chance in the fighting.
The checkpoint had been used as an artillery base to bombard the rebel town of Hosn, about 2km away, which lies below the towering Crusader castle Crac des Chevaliers, resident said.
Syrian official state media described the incident as a “massacre”.
Many Christians fleeing the violence in Homs city over the past two years have settled in the Christian villages around the area where Saturday’s attack took place.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war, which grew out of a 2011 uprising against 40 years of dynastic rule by the Assad family, and nearly 2 million more have fled the country as refugees.